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Some details emerged on Friday about the brothers, including their origins in the predominantly Muslim regions of Russia’s Caucasus, which have experienced two decades of violence since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The younger brother described himself on a social network as a minority from a region that includes Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.
A man who told reporters he was an uncle of the brothers said they came to the United States in the early 2000s and settled in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, area.
Ruslan Tsarni, who lives in suburban Washington and has not spoken to the brothers since 2009, said the bombings “put a shame on our family. It put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.
In separate interviews, the parents of the Tsarnaev brothers said they believed their sons were incapable of carrying out the bombings. Others remembered the brothers as friendly and respectful youths who never stood out or caused alarm.
“Somebody clearly framed them. I don’t know who exactly framed them, but they did. They framed them. And they were so cowardly that they shot the boy dead,” father Anzor Tsarnaev said in an interview with Reuters in Dagestan’s provincial capital, Makhachkala, clasping his head in despair.
The FBI said the twin blasts were caused by bombs in pressure cookers and carried in backpacks that were left near the marathon finish line as thousands of spectators gathered.
The mother, Zubeidat Tsaraeva, speaking in English, told CNN, “It’s impossible, impossible, for both of them to do such things, so I am really, really, really telling that this is a setup.”
The bombings elicited a response from Moscow condemning terrorism and from the Russian-installed leader of Chechnya, who criticized police in Boston for killing an ethnic Chechen and blamed the violence on his upbringing in the United States.
“They grew up and studied in the United States and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there,” Ramzan Kadyrov said in comments posted online. “Any attempt to make a connection between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs is in vain.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the biggest mosque in the area, said in a statement that “after the terrible and sad events of last night, the criminal of the bombings on the loose” it was shutting its doors until further notice.