FBI asked about bombing suspect: Mother

2013-04-23 14:56
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men who set off bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line. She was arrested in June 2012 on a shoplifting charge. (Natick Police Department/ AP)

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men who set off bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line. She was arrested in June 2012 on a shoplifting charge. (Natick Police Department/ AP)

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Boston bomber officially charged in hospital

2013-04-23 12:54

The surviving Boston bomber is facing a charge that carries the death penalty. Federal prosecutors have charged Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with using a weapon of mass destruction. Watch.WATCH

London - The mother of the Boston bombing suspects was called by the FBI years ago to ask if her eldest son had been radicalised, she said in an interview with a British TV station broadcast on Tuesday.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told Channel 4 News that US federal agents had approached her about her eldest son Tamerlan Tsarnaev, aged 26, who was killed in a shootout with police on 19 April.

Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar, aged 19, has been charged over his alleged role in the attack on the Boston Marathon and remains in hospital with gunshot wounds.

Their mother told Channel 4 News: "They were monitoring him [Tamerlan] - and I know that because I used to talk to them. They used to come to our house, like two, three times."

Speaking from Russia's southern region of Dagestan, she said an FBI agent had called and asked her: "Do you think that he could get involved into kind of like, any organisation - you know, like radical organisation?"

In broken English, she insisted that her sons had nothing to do with the twin blasts at the Boston Marathon on 15 April, which killed three people and injured about 200.

"What happened was a terrible thing," she said. "But I know that my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it. I am mother. I know my kids."

FBI meetings

In another interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, Tsarnaeva said she and her husband planned to bury Tamerlan in the United States.

"We are planning to leave for America this week," she told the newspaper. "We want to find a place to bury Tamerlan with Muslim rites in Boston, or somewhere nearby."

She described how Tamerlan had become increasingly devout in recent years and had encouraged her to start wearing a veil.

Her son had first aroused suspicions in the United States in 2008 and FBI agents met him "at least five" times afterwards, most recently a year and a half ago, she added.

CNN reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators from his hospital bed that his brother was the leader of the attacks.

Investigators are probing a six-month trip that Tamerlan made in 2012 to Russia's troubled regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, and whether he was radicalised or trained there.

US Senator Lindsey Graham said the FBI and Russian intelligence may have missed warning signs and made basic errors like misspelling Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name, allowing him to travel to Russia undetected.

Read more on:    tamerlan tsarnaev  |  dzokhar tsarnaev  |  us  |  security  |  boston explosions

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