A foreign government told the FBI in early 2011 about information that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, was a follower of radical Islam.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout, and his younger brother was captured alive. They were identified by authorities and relatives as ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade.
According to FBI, the foreign government said that based on its information, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a strong believer and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the U.S. for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.
The FBI says it interviewed Tsarnaev and relatives, and did not find any domestic or foreign terrorism activity.
An uncle of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says he had a falling-out with one of his nephews because of the man’s increased commitment to Islam.
Ruslan Tsarni says he grew concerned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev (tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) when he told him in a 2009 phone conversation that he had chosen “God’s business” over work or school. Tsarni said he then contacted a family friend who told him Tsarnaev had been influenced by a recent convert to Islam.
Tsarni says the two hadn’t spoken since that call. The 26-year-old Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police Friday. His younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured that evening.
Tsarni says he was relieved his younger nephew was captured alive so he could seek forgiveness from the bombing victims.