Background of Boston Marathon suspects begins to come together

WATERTOWN, Mass. - As police continue the manhunt for the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, details of the pair's past are starting to come to light.

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The suspects were identified to The Associated Press as coming from the Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars.

A law enforcement intelligence bulletin obtained by the AP identified the surviving suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.

According to the Associated Press, the deceased suspect is Russian-born 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brother of Dzhokhar.

The father of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing claims that his son who is still on the loose is a smart and accomplished young man.

Anzor Tsarnaev spoke with The Associated Press by telephone from the Russian city of Makhachkala on Friday after police said one of his sons, 26-year-old Tamerlan, had been killed in a shootout and the other, Dzhokhar, was being intensely pursued.

"My son is a true angel," the elder Tsarnaev said. "Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here."

The Boston Globe is reporting that the Russian social website vKontakte (In Contact) has a page of a Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The post reportedly lists Dzhokhar as a Boston resident and a member of the class of 2011 at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.

The Globe report has the school listing Dzhokhar as the athlete of the month for February 2011 and the recipient of a Cambridge scholarship.

The report states that the social media page says Dzhokhar studied at School No. 1 from 1999 to 2001 in Mkhachkala, which is in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic on the eastern border of Chechnya. The profile also lists Dzhokhar as a member of the group “Everything About the Chechen Republic.”

The Globe report also states that Dzhokhar claims to be able to speak English, Russian and Chechen on the page and that he is Muslim. The posts were made well before the Boston Marathon attack and the last post was in 2012.

Two law enforcement officials told the AP that Dzhokhar and Tamaerlan have been living legally in the U.S. for at least one year. Russia's North Caucasus region has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars in Chechnya.

Militants from Chechnya and other restive regions in Russia's volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but the allegations of involvement in the Boston Marathon explosions would mark the first time they had conducted a terror attack in the West.

The conflict in Chechnya began in 1994 as a separatist war, but has quickly morphed into an Islamic insurgency whose adepts vow to carve out an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus. Militants from Chechnya and neighboring provinces have launched a long series of terror attacks in Russia, including a 2002 hostage-taking raid in Moscow's theater, in which 129 hostages died, a 2004 hostage-taking in a school in Beslan that killed more than 330 people, and numerous bombings in Moscow and other cities.

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