'New York City was next': Police say Boston bomb suspects planned to attack Times Square
NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Marathon bombers were headed for New York's Times Square to blow up the rest of their explosives, authorities said Thursday, in what they portrayed as a chilling, spur-of-the-moment scheme that fell apart when the brothers realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas.
"New York City was next on their list of targets," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that he and his older brother decided on the spot last Thursday night to drive to New York and launch an attack. In their stolen SUV they had five pipe bombs and a pressure-cooker explosive like the ones that blew up at the marathon, Kelly said.
But when the Tsarnaev brothers stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of Boston, the carjacking victim they were holding hostage escaped and called police, Kelly said. Later that night, police intercepted the brothers in a blazing gunbattle that left 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.
"We don't know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston," the mayor said. "We're just thankful that we didn't have to find out that answer."
US says Syrian government has twice used chemical weapons, 'red line' Assad told not to cross
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House declared Thursday that U.S. intelligence indicates Syrian President Bashar Assad has twice used deadly chemical weapons in his country's fierce civil war, a provocative action that would cross President Barack Obama's "red line" for a significant military response. But the administration said the revelation won't immediately change its stance on intervening.
The information, which has been known to the administration and some members of Congress for weeks, isn't solid enough to warrant quick U.S. involvement in the 2-year-old conflict, the White House said. Officials said the assessments were made with "varying degrees of confidence" given the difficulty of information gathering in Syria, though there appeared to be little question within the intelligence community.
As recently as Tuesday, when an Israeli general added to the growing chorus that Assad had used chemical weapons, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was continuing to monitor and investigate but had "not come to the conclusion that there has been that use."
The Syrian civil war has persisted, with an estimated 70,000 dead. Obama has so far resisted pressure, both from Congress and from within his own administration, to arm the Syrian rebels or get involved militarily. He has, however, declared the use of chemical weapons a "game changer" that would have "enormous consequences."
The White House disclosed the new intelligence Thursday in letters to two senators, but had Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announce it to reporters traveling with him in the United Arab Emirates. The letters were sent in response to questions from senators of both parties who are pressing for more U.S. involvement, and it marked the first time the administration has publicly disclosed evidence of chemical weapons use.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. BOMB SUSPECTS ALLEGEDLY TARGETED TIMES SQUARE
NYC's mayor, top cop say the Boston suspects' plan to visit the Big Apple wasn't just "to party" after all.
Workers trapped inside collapsed building in Bangladesh plead for rescue; death toll hits 275
SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladeshi authorities say 275 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of a building that collapsed in the country's worst ever disaster for its notoriously unsafe garment industry.
Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder said Friday morning that 61 survivors have been rescued since Thursday afternoon.
Authorities say more than 2,000 people have been rescued from the building since it collapsed Wednesday. Police had ordered it evacuated because the walls were cracking, but authorities allege that factory managers flouted the order.
Shikder said some of the dead were unrecognizable because of decomposition. He's head of the rescue operation.
Venezuela's opposition leader says he will boycott audit of election results
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced Thursday that his movement will boycott an audit of election results because the National Electoral Council did not accept his demand for the examination of registers containing voters' signatures and fingerprints.
Capriles said the opposition will challenge the results of the April 14 presidential vote, narrowly won by Hugo Chavez's political heir, in the Supreme Court and pressure authorities to organize a new election.
The decision came after election officials did not respond to his repeated demands for a complete audit of the election won by President Nicolas Maduro.
The council announced last week that it would allow an audit of 46 percent of the vote not already audited. It said it would tell the nation this week when it would start comparing vote tallies from each machine with the individual vote receipts from that machine.
"We consider this to be a joke," said Capriles, who contends that the election was stolen from him.
Fire in Russian psychiatric hospital kills all 38 people inside, including 2 medical workers