Site of Boston attack
Site of Boston attack AFP photo

The as-yet unidentified victim of a car-jacking by the two "Boston Bombers" has recounted his brief but harrowing time in the hands of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as the two brothers fled from US authorities. According to an FBI affidavit obtained by Reuters news agency, Dzhokar, the younger of the two, is said to have boasted openly of his roll in the attack, which killed 3 people and injured more than 130, many of them seriously. A week after the bombing, 50 people remain in hospital, at least 2 of them in critical condition.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19) is the only surviving suspect in those attacks, and is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds sustained during a gunbattle and high-speed chase in which his older brother Tamerlan (26) - and the suspected mastermind of the attack - was shot dead by police on Friday.

There is speculation that at least one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's wounds was self-inflicted, a result of a botched suicide attempt as the young terrorist lay cornered in a boat in a residential area, during an intensive police manhunt to catch him. He is currently in a serious but stable condition under police custody in a Boston hospital, and is said to be responding to interrogation.

Spared because "he wasn't American"

According to the New York Times, which cited "a senior US government official", after seizing the car the two brothers forced their victim to withdraw money from an ATM machine, but promised him that they wouldn't kill him as he "was not American." The pair also apparently stated their attention to travel to New York, potentially corroborating police fears that they planned to commit further attacks.

Although American officials have been extremely cautious in assuming any motive, this apparent anti-American statement seems to fit in with extremist Islamist material posted by the brothers on social media, as well as apparent warnings by Russian intelligence agencies as far back as 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become radicalized, and could be involved with terrorist activities. The FBI apparently interviewed him at the time, but concluded that there was no evidence to connect him to any illegal acts.