- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

U.S. investigators have gone to the war-battered Russian North Caucasus to interview the family of the Chechen-American brothers accused of being behind the Boston Marathon bombing.

A U.S. Embassy official in Moscow told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that a team flew from Moscow Tuesday to Dagestan, a Russian republic in the North Caucasus area.

Dagestan, where the brothers’ parents now live, borders their ancestral home of Chechnya, and has inherited the insurgency that started there as a nationalist rebellion and which is now a fierce guerrilla campaign by some of the most hardened and ruthless Islamic extremists on the planet.

There was no immediate response to a reporter’s request for confirmation from either the State Department or the FBI, which is leading the investigation into the two brothers. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was charged and his brother Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a fierce gun battle with local police last week, are said by federal prosecutors to have built and planted the two bombs that killed three and maimed dozens more last week near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

But investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of whether the two had any help or training, especially from overseas. They have zeroed in on a six-month visit that the elder brother made last year to Russia.

“As in any investigation, we are working with our international partners,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd. He declined further comment.