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Mayor Says New York Was Boston Bombing Suspects' Next Target

  • RFE/RL

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lies injured as he is captured in Watertown, Massachusetts, on April 19.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lies injured as he is captured in Watertown, Massachusetts, on April 19.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the Boston Marathon bombing suspects intended to blow up their remaining explosives in Times Square.

Bloomberg said the FBI had contacted him late on April 24 about the plot.

“Last night, we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets," he said. "He told the FBI apparently that he and his brother had intended to drive to New York and detonate additional explosives in Times Square. They had built these additional explosives and we know they had the capacity to carry out the attacks.”

Bloomberg was speaking alongside New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a press briefing on April 25, 10 days after twin Boston bombs killed three and injured around 260 people near the finish line.

Bloomberg said the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told Boston investigators from his hospital bed that he and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who died after a shoot-out with police, had discussed going to New York to detonate their remaining explosives.

Bloomberg said the brothers had decided it spontaneously.

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Kelly said the two suspects had a pressure-cooker bomb, similar to the devices investigators found at the site of the Boston Marathon explosions, and five pipe bombs remaining in their possession.

Asked if New York law enforcement was capable of preventing such an attack in the wake of the Boston bombings, Bloomberg said he was glad there had not been a need to do so.

“We don't know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston. We're just thankful that we didn't have to find out that answer," he said. "And as a result of the extraordinary work of the Watertown, Massachusetts, Police Department, the Boston Police Department, and the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies, the terrorists were stopped before they could carry out further attacks.”

According to U.S. investigators, Tsarnaev traveled to New York at least once last year, including to Times Square.

The two are also thought to have killed a campus police officer in Boston at the start of the police chase that resulted in Tamerlan's death and Dzhokhaev's capture nearly a day later on April 19.

With reporting by AP and Reuters