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Latest Boston bombings updates: Alerts from Russia, Suspects headed to NYC, no ties to terror groups

This combination of Associated Press file images released by the FBI on Thursday, April 18, 2013, show two images taken from surveillance video of  what the FBI are calling suspect number 2, left, in white cap,and suspect number 1, right, in black cap, as they walk near each other through the crowd in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/FBI)
This combination of Associated Press file images released by the FBI on Thursday, April 18, 2013, show two images taken from surveillance video of what the FBI are calling suspect number 2, left, in white cap,and suspect number 1, right, in black cap, as they walk near each other through the crowd in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013, before the explosions at the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/FBI) AP
Story Highlights
  • The Tsarnaev brothers may have been planning an attack in New York City.
  • Investigators are looking into whether the pair had co-conspirators in New York.
  • Russia says they alerted U.S. officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in "multiple contacts."

Russian authorities raised concerns about one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings "multiple" times and the brothers may have been planning an attack in New York City, according to news reports.

A law enforcement official told the Boston Globe that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have been planning to go to New York City with a car full of bombs.

After fatally shooting a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer on Friday, leading to a wild chase and manhunt, Tamerlan Tsarnaev told a witness: "We just killed a cop. We blew up the Marathon. And now we're going to New York. Don't [expletive] with us," the official told the newspaper.

The pair was heading to New York to "party" after the April 15 attack that killed three people and wounded more than 200, Ray Kelly, the city's police commissioner, told reporters today.

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  • Tamerlan was killed trying to escape from authorities; Dzhokhar was charged in his hospital bed this week.

    Concern from Russia

    Russia alerted U.S. officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in "multiple contacts," North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr said Tuesday, according to the Globe.

    The FBI disputed that allegation and said it was only contacted about him once, in spring 2011, and determined that he wasn't a threat.

    Senators on Tuesday raised concerns about information sharing, and said they would be asking various federal agencies for more information about what they knew about the suspect.

    "There still seem to be serious problems with sharing information, including critical investigative information -- not only among agencies but also within the same agency in one case," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said.

    U.S. officials are in contact with the suspects' parents in southern Russia and the parents are planning to fly to the United States later this week.

    A U.S. Embassy official told the Associated Press that the U.S. team traveled to the Dagestan province "because the investigation is ongoing, it's not over." 

    No known terror ties

    Investigators believe the brothers were motivated by radical Islam, but had no ties to foreign terrorist groups.

    The two may have learned how to make bombs from the website of an English-language magazine of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, the New York Times reports

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told authorities that the attacks were driven by anger of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Washington Post. He also told interrogators he and his brother were responsible for the attacks, an official told the Globe.

    Other developments:

    — A lawyer for Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife, Katherine Tsarnaeva, said his client "is doing everything she can to assist with the investigation," although he would not say whether she had spoken with federal authorities. Another lawyer for Tsarnaeva said the 24-year-old deeply mourned the loss of innocent victims in the bombings.

     — The Massachusetts state House turned aside a bid by several lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty in certain cases, including the murder of police officers. In a 119-38 vote, the House sent the proposal to a study committee rather than advance it to an up-or-down vote. 

    — In New Jersey, the sisters of the suspects, Ailina and Bella Tsarnaeva, issued a statement saying they were saddened to "see so many innocent people hurt after such a callous act." Later, in brief remarks to several news outlets, Ailina described her elder brother as a "kind and loving man." She said of both brothers: "I have no idea what got into them" and also that "at the end of the day no one knows the truth."

    — Phantom Fireworks of Seabrook, N.H., said Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought 48 mortar shells at the store in February. Company Vice President William Weimer, however, said the amount of gunpowder that could be extracted from the fireworks would not have been enough for the Boston bombs.

    — Boylston Street, where the blasts occurred, was scheduled to reopen to the public at 3 a.m. Wednesday. It had been closed since the bombings.

    — A fund created to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks has generated $20 million. Mayor Thomas Menino said more than 50,000 donors from across the world have made donations to One Fund Boston.

    Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

    Emily Babay and wire services Philly.com
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