Saudi terror cell, possibly al Qaeda, behind Boston Marathon bombings. Manhunt for escaped suspect
FBI Special Agent Richard Deslauriers told reporters Tuesday, April 16, that the probe had no leads 18 hours after two explosions blew up at the annual Boston Marathon’s finishing line, killing three people and injuring 176 – 17 critically. DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources can disclose however that the investigation has in fact homed in on a suspected terror cell of three Saudi nationals, very possibly tied to Al Qaeda.
The flat they share in the Revere, Massachusetts, near Boston, was searched after the questioning of one of the suspects, a Saudi student, who was hospitalized with badly burned hands. One of his flatmates was taken into custody over “visa problems.” A third is on the run. All three hail from a prominent Saudi family belonging to a tribe from the Asir province bordering on Yemen.
The search for the wanted man led to the grounding of a plane at Logan International Airport Tuesday. The investigation has meanwhile broadened out to places in and outside Boston in a search for the cell’s accomplices.
The origins of the Saudi cell, if confirmed, strongly suggest that Al Qaeda of Arabia – AQAP –succeeded in planting a cell in the United States for the bombing attack in Boston – and possibly more than one in other parts of the US. Asir Province is known as a hotbed of resistance to the Saudi throne in Riyadh.
US law enforcement authorities in charge of the probe are refusing to confirm any suspects are in custody, or even leads to whoever carried out the bombings. President Barack Obama said in his second statement in 24 hours: “…we don’t know if who was behind the bombings were foreign, domestic or individual.” The President was forced to admit for the first time that the FBI was investigating “an act of terror.”
DEBKAfile earlier Tuesday was alone in reporting that the FBI Boston Marathon probe pointed to Mid-East terrorists with domestic support.
The lack of adequate security jumps to the eye after twin bombings struck the high-prestige Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, killing three people, including an 8-year old boy and injuring 140 – seventeen critically.
This was the world’s oldest annual marathon, with 28,000 runners representing athletes from every US state and more than 90 nations. Yet there was no sign of dogs along the route trained to sniff out explosives or a police helicopter overhead with sensors for detecting explosives or traces thereof on the person of anyone present around the finishing line after the blasts.
Tuesday morning, while interviewing witnesses and collecting photos taken by spectators, the Boston police and security officers announced they were seeking two wanted men: One was described as swarthy, speaking with a foreign accent, his face partially hidden by a hood, who was carrying a large backpack and kept on trying to enter a closed section near the finishing line. This was the first time an area was disclosed as having been closed to the public.
The second man was photographed by a spectator walking on a rooftop overlooking the finishing line after the second bomb exploded.
After the event, police searches turned up and defused another three explosive devices. Had that search taken place before the event, at least one of the lethal devices might have been discovered and the race aborted.
Tuesday, the FBI admitted “a potential terrorist inquiry” was underway, although President Barack Obama, when he pledged justice for “the perpetrators,” carefully skirted the term “terror.” This recalls his administration’s refusal to brand as an act of terror the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, although it was clearly the work of an al Qaeda element.
Counterterrorism experts are equally certain of the Middle East terrorist hallmarks on the Boston Marathon bombings, although it is too soon to say whether it was the work of Al Qaeda or an allied radical jihadi group such as the Ansar al-Shariah, which was responsible for the Benghazi consulate in conjunction with a clandestine al Qaeda command center in Cairo.
Here, too, initial investigation discloses the hand of al Qaeda or an affiliate.
This originated in an email updates from Islam Today Oregon Presents: This Is Islam