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Reports: Boston Bombing Suspects Had Planned July 4 Attack

Another interesting thread has developed this evening in the narrative of the Boston bombings: The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, CBS, The Boston Globe and NBC are reporting that in an initial interrogation, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev said he and his brother, Tamerlan, originally planned a suicide attack on July 4.

Now, keep in mind that these reports are being attributed to unnamed officials. The New York Times, which broke the story, originally sourced it to a single official and later to "two law enforcement officials." NPR has not independently confirmed these reports (read a note on how we cover these stories). The media outlets also report this information came out of an interrogation conducted before Tsarnaev was read his Miranda Rights.

The Times adds:

"The brothers finished building the bombs in Tamerlan's apartment in Cambridge, Mass., faster than they anticipated, and so decided to accelerate their attack to the Boston Marathon on April 15, Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, from July, according to the account that Dzhokhar provided authorities. They picked the finish line of the marathon after driving around the Boston area looking for alternative sites, according to this account.

"In addition, Mr. Tsarnaev has told authorities that he and his brother viewed the Internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American cleric who moved to Yemen and was killed in September 2011 by an American drone strike. There is no indication that the brothers communicated with Mr. Awlaki before his death."

CNN adds that the apartment where the bombs were built is the same one Tamerlan shared with his wife and child.

CBS News reports that an official tells them Dzhokhar said he was brought into the plot by his brother "a couple of months before" the bombing. The network offers a warning: "The official noted that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had said different things at different times and that it is all subject to investigation."

In other news, The Boston Globe reports that the body of Tamerlan — who died after a firefight with police — was claimed by his family.

Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Massachusetts medical examiner's office, told the paper the body was picked up at 5:30 p.m. ET.

NPR's coverage of the April 15 bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 250 is collected here.

Note: As happens when stories such as this are developing, there will likely be reports that turn out to be mistaken. We will focus on news being reported by NPR, other news outlets with expertise, and statements from authorities who are in a position to know what's going on. And if some of that information turns out to be wrong, we'll update.

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