Boston Suspect Says Iraq, Afghan Wars Played Role
Elder brother bought fireworks in February
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 6:06 PM CDT
This combination of undated file photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.   (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young, File)

(Newser) – As the condition of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev improves in the hospital—he's been upgraded to fair condition—more dribs and drabs are emerging about the Boston Marathon plot and the apparent motivation behind it. Earlier accounts said Dzhokhar had described his brother Tamerlan as the driving force, and the Washington Post reports that he also told investigators that they were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No other details were provided about that nugget.

Other developments:

  • Fireworks: The Wall Street Journal reports that Tamerlan bought two heavy-duty pyrotechnic devices from a New Hampshire fireworks store in February. An exec with Phantom Fireworks says he doubts they would have provided enough powder for the Boston blasts, though the purchase suggests planning for the marathon attack began months in advance. Tamerlan bought something called a "Lock and Load," which has a launch tube and shells, reports the New York Times. The company also sold fireworks to the failed Times Square bomber in 2010, notes the Times.
  • Terrorist ties: Were the brothers in contact with al-Qaeda or other overseas terrorist groups? The current line of thinking suggests otherwise, reports AP. The theory is that the brothers—Tamerlan especially—became "self-radicalized" through the Internet. AP's sources say the elder brother became a regular on extremist websites, including al-Qaeda's Inspire, the online magazine that seeks to inspire lone-wolf attacks.