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NEW YORK MAY HAVE BEEN NEXT

The suspect told officials the brothers talked about taking bombs to Times Square.

New York Times

NEW YORK - Not long before they engaged in a fevered shootout with the police, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing discussed heading to New York to detonate their remaining explosive devices in Times Square, city officials said Thursday.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference that the suspects still had five pipe bombs and another device, similar to the pressure-cooker bomb used in the marathon attacks, that they intended to use.

But those last-minute intentions, seized upon as they drove around the Boston area on the night of April 18, were foiled because the vehicle they had carjacked did not have enough gas to reach New York, Kelly said. When the suspects stopped for fuel, the carjacking victim escaped and the police were notified.

Kelly repeatedly described the suspects' discussions as spontaneous.

One suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who survived the shootout and was later arrested, "initially told investigators that he and his brother decided after the Boston bombings that they would go to New York City to party," Kelly said.

"However, a subsequent questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target."

Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said they were not aware of any other terrorist threat against New York that stemmed from the attack in Boston.

Kelly said the information about a "party" appeared to have come from an interrogation of Tsarnaev on Saturday. That changed during an interrogation that began Sunday evening, Kelly said, during which Tsarnaev discussed the last-minute plan for an attack. In the second interrogation, Kelly said, Tsarnaev was "more lucid" and provided details to investigators; Kelly declined to describe those details.

While Bloomberg said the FBI had informed New York authorities that Tsarnaev, 19, told federal investigators that New York City was "next on their list of targets," several federal law enforcement officials played down that notion, saying Tsarnaev's statements made it clear that his discussions with his brother, Tamerlan, were far shy of any sort of plan.

A short time after the carjacking victim escaped, the brothers were spotted by the police. In the ensuing confrontation, the brothers threw some of the explosive devices at the police and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been to New York on at least two occasions, Kelly said. During one trip "on or before April 18th of 2012," he was photographed with friends in Times Square; he was in the city again in November, Kelly said. The police department is trying to retrace his steps and find out who he saw while in New York.

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