The Boston Marathon bombing suspects appear to be the latest American jihadis, responsible for a surge in homegrown terror plots and attacks. But their ranks are diminishing, say some experts.
The emerging portrait of the brothers Tsarnaev, deceased 26-year-old Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, 19, both implicated in a terrorist bomb attack at the Boston Marathon, is one that increasingly describes a pair of homegrown American jihadis.
However what caused Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, who shared an apartment in Cambridge, Mass., to “radicalize” – going from young party-throwing American immigrants to suspected bomb-toting terrorists willing to wreak destruction on their adopted country – isn’t known yet.
Relatives and friends describe a shift in Tamerlan, beginning around 2009, in which he suddenly delved into Islam and tossed aside his boxing career. But even before he left the sport he was quoted, now famously, as saying that he had no American friends and didn’t understand them.
For his part, Dzhokhar was reported Tuesday to have told investigators from his hospital bed that he and his brother read “Inspire,” an online magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. If so, the pair would not be the first Americans to take inspiration and operational advice on how to conduct mayhem from that jihadi magazine, which first appeared in mid-2010.
But for clearer answers on why the brothers turned to violence, government intelligence agencies are still analyzing the suspects’ backgrounds, their FaceBook pages, immigration information, travel connections, and biographical data. Whom, for instance, did Tamerlan meet with during his trip last year to Dagestan, a republic in Russia's south that borders Chechnya?
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