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Terrorism

Boston suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev blames dead brother Tamerlan

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has reportedly told investigators they were the work of his brother, now dead. Authorities are seeking a motive for the attacks, which killed three and injured 200.

Dzhokhar Tsarnev, 19 (pictured), was charged on Monday at a bedside hearing in hospital, where he was recovering from gunshot wounds, with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He faces life in prison or the death penalty if found guilty.

His 26-year-old brother Tamerlan was killed last Friday in an exchange of gunfire with police, after days on the run with Dzhokar, who fled on foot but was captured later that day following a massive manhunt.

The younger brother reportedly told investigators Tamerlan Tsarnev was the leader of the attacks, according to the broadcaster CNN, and that Tamerlan was a self-styled radical motivated by jihadist ideas.

Counter-terrorism experts are still seeking a motive, and want to find out if more attacks were planned. According to an unnamed government source quoted by CNN, "preliminary interviews with Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists," and that international groups were not involved.

Top investigators were to brief the US House of Representatives on Tuesday about a possible failure to act on advice from Russia, which raised concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago and flagged him as a possible Islamist radical. It is understood the FBI interviewed him in 2011.

The Tsarnaev brothers emigrated to the United States a decade ago from Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region in Russia's Caucasus.

Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, and aunt, Patimat Suleimanova, told the Reuters news agency on Monday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited relatives in Chechnya for two days last year, during a six-month trip out of the United States. Investigators are looking into whether the elder brother was trained or radicalized while he was away.

Lawyers for the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev say she is doing everthing she can to assist authorities. According to a statement from attorneys Amato DeLuca and Miriam Weizenbaum, Katherine Tsarnaeva is "trying to come to terms with these events," and is in deep mourning.

"The report of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all," said the statement.

jr/rc (AFP, dpa, AP)