The brothers accused of staging the Boston Marathon bombings planned to detonate more explosives in Times Square as they were being hunted by police, New York City officials said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old surviving suspect, is said to have told investigators about his plan during interrogations earlier this week in the Boston hospital where he is being treated for gunshot wounds to the neck, hands and legs.
The 19-year-old suspect spoke to FBI agents intermittently over a 16-hour period before a federal judge showed up at the hospital and read him his Miranda rights, after which he clammed up, according to law enforcement sources, says Fox News.
New York police chief Ray Kelly said the pair intended to use a pressure-cooker bomb – similar to the two that erupted at the marathon -as well as five pipe bombs and improvised grenades they still had on hand as they drove around in a hijacked black Mercedes.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev confessed the plan to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in his hospital bed, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, calling it a “horrific reminder that we remain targets for terrorists.”
“Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Mr Bloomberg said at a press conference at City Hall today.
“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 explosives and we know they had the capacity to carry out the catastrophe.”
The plan was only said to have been thwarted when the brothers were intercepted by police in a Boston suburb. An ensuing gun battle left the older brother dead and prompted a day-long manhunt for the survivor, reports the Guardian.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in one shootout with police while Dzhokhar, critically wounded, was found Friday hiding in a boat in a suburban backyard.
The bombers were previously reported by The Boston Globe to have told the driver of a vehicle they carjacked shortly before Friday’s shootout: “We just killed a cop. We blew up the Marathon. And now we’re going to New York.”
The police commissioner added that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had twice visited Times Square in recent times and that authorities held surveillance footage of him there in April last year. The purpose of his visit was not known, informs the Telegraph.
Times Square was targeted by Muslim terrorist Faisal Shahzad in a failed 2010 plot. Kelly said at least one Tsarnaev brother was photographed in Times Square last year, first on April 18 and then later on an unspecified day in November.
However, “a subsequent questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target,” Kelly said at the joint news conference with Bloomberg.
“New York was next on their list of targets,” Bloomberg said of Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan.“The fact is, New York City remains a prime target for those who hate America and want to kill Americans”
After NYC Mayor announcement, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been moved from a civilian hospital to a Bureau of Prisons facility, says the U.S. Marshals Service .
The FMC Devens is a federal prisons facility for male inmates who require specialized or long-term medical or mental health care, according to the facility’s website.