Islamic extremists in the Russian North Caucasus, from where the family of the accused Boston Marathon bombers hail, have denied any involvement with the brothers’ crime.
“The Caucasian Mujahideen are not fighting against the United States of America,” said the Dagestani provincial command of the Caucasus Emirate — the main Islamic extremist group in the North Caucasus. “We are at war with Russia, which is not only responsible for the occupation of the Caucasus, but also for heinous crimes against Muslims,” the group said in a Russian-language posting on their website.
The statement was translated by Kavkaz, the official media outlet for the emirate.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is in custody in hospital Boston.
His older brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed following a gun battle with police.
The two were identified by relatives Friday as ethnic Chechens, whose family had lived in the neighboring Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan and then later the newly independent post-Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan, before coming to the United States 11 years ago.
Tamerlan, the elder brother, was interviewed by the FBI, after a foreign security service (believed to be Russian) asked them in 2011 to investigate him for possible links to Islamic extremists.
Last year, he traveled to Dagestan, where his family returned several years ago, for six months. Investigators are trying if he had any contact with extremist groups.
The Dagestani statement calls suggestions of a link to the Caucasus Emirate “Russian Propaganda,” and condemns “speculative assumptions” by the U.S. media.
The statement also claims that “even in respect to the enemy state of Russia,” the group’s leader, Doku Umarov, “prohibits strikes on civilian targets.”