Bomb suspects' mother a person of interest: US lawmakers

The mother of the two Boston bomb suspects is being treated as a "person of interest" by US authorities seeking to determine whether she radicalized one of her sons, US lawmakers said Friday.

Ethnic Chechen brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stand accused of launching the deadly attacks last week that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Their mother Zubeidat, in her native Dagestan region of Russia, has made impassioned critiques of US authorities since eldest son Tamerlan died in a shootout with police days after the bombings.

Particular interest has surrounded a six-month trip he made to the Northern Caucasus in 2012, and whether he made contact with the Islamist underground in the region.

"She (Zubeidat) is a person of interest that we're looking at to see if she helped radicalize her son, or had contacts with other people or other terrorist groups," congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also pointed to Zubeidat as someone who may have led Tamerlan down the path toward Islamic extremism.

"The mother in my judgment has a role in his radicalization process in terms of her influence over him (and) fundamental views of Islam," McCaul told reporters.

He said that on Thursday a "US team was deployed to interview individuals in the Chechen region, in Dagestan, and it's my hope that they can get some evidence from that."

Earlier this week in a television interview the mother suggested the Boston Marathon was staged.

"I saw very, very interesting video last night, that the marathon was something like a really big play," she told CNN in English.

"There is, like, paint instead of blood, like it is made up."

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Zubeidat reaffirmed her belief that her sons were innocent of the Boston bombings.

Her husband Anzor Tsarnaev said he planned to travel Friday to the United States, where younger son Dzhokhar is being held on terror charges.

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