Friday, April 19, 2013

Islamic links to Chechen terrorists in Boston are likely

Yesterday the FBI publicly released photos of the two men believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon massacre on April 15, which killed three people and left more than 100 wounded. Today, the FBI reported that one of the two men has been killed in a gun battle in Massachusetts. The men are reported to be brothers from the Chechen area of southern Russia by RT. Chechen radical Muslims are responsible for a long list of terror attacks. Given the nature of the attack and the history of recent attempted terrorist attacks in the United States, it is likely, although far from certain at this point, that the two men are Islamic radicals.

The two men are reported to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan. Tamerlan was the suspect reportedly killed by police after a gun battle and car chase through Watertown, Mass. last night.

The nature of attacks suggests the possibility of involvement by Al Qaeda sources outside the United States as well. Bomb making is a very technical task, which may explain why many homegrown terrorists use weapons such as guns that are more readily available in the United States. The Pakistani immigrant who attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square in 2010 received explosives training in Pakistan, but the bomb still fizzled.

Bombings have long been a favorite tactic of Islamic terrorists and the tactic has come of age during the Iraq War. A common tactic has been to detonate a second bomb near the scene of the first explosion targeting security forces and rescue workers. The Boston attack included two bombs.

The nature of the bombs themselves also suggests Islamic terror. An army private who attempted to bomb Fort Hood in 2011 had planned to use similar devices. The plans for the bombs in both the Fort Hood plot and the Boston attack are available online in the Al Qaeda magazine, “Inspire.”

The target of the Boston bombings also suggests Islamic terror. While domestic secular terrorists sometimes do commit bombings, they usually have specific targets. Ku Klux Klan bombings targeted black churches. In the 1960s, the leftist Weather Underground targeted police and government buildings. Antigovernment terrorist Timothy McVeigh targeted the federal building in Oklahoma City. Eric Rudolph normally attacked abortion clinics, but on one occasion bombed a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. He is best known for the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. While the bomb was placed in a park, Rudolph called police with a warning before the bomb exploded in an apparent attempt to minimize the loss of life.

Islamic terror, however, often focuses on creating a large death toll. Public gatherings are popular targets for Islamic terrorists. Past targets include airliners, restaurants, subways, churches, synagogues, mosques, and crowded marketplaces. These targets are designed to make a political or religious statement by killing as many people as possible. This seems to have been the motivation of the Boston bombers.

Originally published on

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