The surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect has told investigators that his brother orchestrated the attacks because he ‘wanted to defend Islam from attack’, it emerged today.
In scrawled notes made from his hospital bed, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, told Guantanamo Bay interrogators that Tamerlan, 26, was motivated by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and his belief that they represented an assault on his faith, according to reports.
Dzhokhar told investigators that he and his brother were not linked to any Islamic terrorist groups. Instead, authorities believe Tamerlan ‘self-radicalized’ by watching online videos of extremist Muslim preachers.
According to CNN, Dzhokhar said his older brother was the ringleader in the attacks that shook the nation a week ago, but that the pair were working alone.
In preliminary interviews with Dzhokhar, the terror suspect said his brother ‘wanted to defend Islam from attack’, a source told CNN.
The Washington Post reports that Tamerlan believed he had to defend his faith because he thought the Unites States had waged war against Islam in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two U.S. officials said last night the evidence from the bedside interrogation suggests the terror suspects did not have any accomplices, despite previous fears they were part of a 12-man terror ‘sleeper cell.’
One of the brothers, Tamerlan, 26, died in a police shootout on Friday. The other brother, Dzhokhar, 19, was formally charged today with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction after being questioned by federal officials in his hospital room where he is recovering from multiple injuries.
He could face a death sentence, despite the fact Massachusetts has no death penalty, as he is being prosecuted under the federal system.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler described the 19-year-old as ‘alert, mentally competent and lucid,’ during a brief initial court appearance in his Boston hospital room. He communicated mostly by nodding his head but at one point answered ‘no,’ according to CNN. A probably cause hearing has been scheduled for May 30.
Investigators have been quizzing Tsarnaev about whether there were more bombs, explosives or weapons beyond the ones already uncovered by police as well as who came up with the plot.
Interrogators are questioning the suspect in his room every few hours as doctors sit by his bedside, CNN reported.
It was earlier reported that the 1,000 strong FBI investigation team was working furiously to track down the 12-strong terror cell to guard against any further attacks on American soil.
On Saturday afternoon, two 19-year-old men from Kazakhstan thought to be friends of the Boston brothers were arrested – as it was revealed the pair drove around in a black BMW with vanity plates that read ‘TERROISTA#1.’
‘We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google,’ a source earlier told the Daily Mirror newspaper of the UK.
‘They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.’
But the Boston Mayor Tom Menino said the briefings he has been privy to assure him that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing acted alone.
Menino told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he agreed with the decision to lock down Boston all day Friday, based on what officials knew at the time.
He did admit though that a pipe bomb has been found at another location and that another person has been taken into custody, although at this time he would not elaborate.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is reportedly unable to speak because of a gunshot wound to the throat.
But he is believed to be communicating in writing to a special team of FBI counter-terrorism agents trained in interrogating ‘high-value’ detainees that were sent to his bedside at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The two men who own a BMW with the license plate ‘Terrorista #1’ and who are said to be friends with the younger Boston bombing suspect were taken into custody again on Saturday.
This time the two foreign nationals were arrested over alleged immigration violations in the Massachusetts town of New Bedford, where police say the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, may have once lived.
The students, named by neighbors by their first names Azmat and Diaz, drive a black BMW 330XI with the personalized plate and a sticker on the back which reads: ‘F*** you, you f****** f****.’
They are thought to be from Kazakhstan and had not been seen since the bombings until Friday night when their ground floor apartment in New Bedford, MA, was raided by a dozen FBI agents at gunpoint.
One of their girlfriends was also arrested on Friday. All three are in their late teens or early 20s.
The three were subsequently released on Friday night before Saturday’s arrest of the two men.
Their apartment was raided because police say the younger Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, may have lived at their address.
MailOnline has discovered another link – Dzhokhar Tweeted pictures of the car on his Twitter account J_tsar.
In one picture the BMW is next to another dark colored sports car with the caption: ‘Place your bets’ as if they are about to race.
In another a group of boys stand by both vehicles and a youth can be seen making a gesture that looks like a gun towards the camera.
The three arrests took place at the Hidden Brook housing complex in New Bedford.
A neighbor claimed that the men had said the BMW was stolen or that they claimed they had rented it and were not paying the rental fee.
Inside the car was a receipt from a Ralph Lauren store, a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses, a receipt from a shipping company, a prescription, lots of crushed water bottles and a number of parking tickets.
The neighbor told MailOnline that Azmat and Diaz were ‘nice boys’ who were light skinned, thin and short.
She said that they were students at the University of Massachusetts and had been living in the apartment for around a year.
She said: ‘They used to have parties until three or four in the morning. There would be drinking and dancing and the police would come. I didn’t mind but they stayed up til late every now and then.’
The neighbor said that when the the police raided the apartment there were armed officers on the tennis court out the back on a tennis court lying down with their guns pointed towards the apartment.
The FBI later brought a U-Haul truck to the rear of the apartment but did not take anything away.
The neighbor said that when the boys were led out she heard ‘scuffles’ and that they were led away with their hands in zip ties.
The neighbor said: ‘I’ve not spoken to them since the bombings. They have thick accents so I find it hard to understand them anyway.
‘They went away for a couple of weeks a few months ago but they did not say where. I don’t know if they went back to Kazakhstan
Two Russian speaking men in their early 20s later arrived at the apartment and told reporters they were journalists from the Boston Globe.
They then entered the apartment through an unlocked patio door. When asked what they were doing they said: ‘We are friends of theirs. They are talking, they are talking’ and closed the door.
When MailOnline rang the City desk of the Boston Globe, a man said: ‘We’re very busy right now. Consider us informed.’