Boston Marathon bombing: The initial theories

Early reports link twin blasts to right-wing extremists or al-Qa'ida

Early reports of the Boston Marathon bombing sought to link the blasts to domestic right-wing extremists.

The main thinking behind a link to the far-right was that the relative small size of the bomb and the fact it took place on Patriot’s Day – a hugely symbolic event.

Patriot’s Day is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The battles marked the beginning of military action American Revolution and have been seen as a symbol of American independence and freedom ever since.

The devastating Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, took place the day after Patriot’s Day. Perpetrator Timothy McVeigh reportedly considered the date significant to his anti-government terrorist attack.

Patriot’s Day also marks the anniversary of the end of the Waco siege on April 19, 1993. Right-wing groups have long linked Waco’s bloody conclusion – in which 86 people died after the FBI stormed the Branch Davidian cult’s compound following a 51-day siege – as an example of the US government abusing its power.

The right-wing extremist theory was strengthened by fact April 15 is tax day, an event that in recent years has been used as a rallying date for members of the Tea Party group.

The Tea Party movement is, of course, named after the famous Boston Tea Party political protest of 1773 and, with President Obama’s taxation policies widely criticised by many conservative groups – both moderate and extreme - the date is increasingly seen as a focal point for right-wing protest.

Other experts have sought to distance the attacks from right-wing extremism however; suggesting twin blasts are a hallmark of al-Qa'ida.

The Telegraph reported Peter Neumann, professor of security studies at King’s College, London, as saying: “Some groups used a particular kind of attack. With the IRA it was car bombs. With al-Qa'ida it has almost become a cliché but multiple explosions in the same place are regarded as hallmarks of Islamist terror.”

Although the Boston devices are generally smaller than those used by Islamic extremists, the reported use of ball-bearings in backpacks filled with explosives has fuelled speculation that al-Qa'ida operatives may have been involved. Such devices have often been used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Professor Neumann added: “A bomb with ball bearing seems homemade, the type of thing you would build if you don’t really know how to build a bomb, perhaps with some instructions or guide on the Internet.”

As well as Patriot’s Day, yesterday also marked the 65th anniversary of Israeli independence, leading commentators, including the Boston Globe's Lawrence Harmon, to speculate on links to Islamic extremism.

Professor Neumann reportedly called the attacks “amateurish right-wing, or amateurish al-Qa'ida”, adding that investigators will now be looking online for individuals or groups boasting of the attacks or claiming responsibility.

He said: “The point of terrorism is to communicate a message through acts of violence. The IRA used to call a newspaper, and now you often have claims on the Internet.”

Professor Neumann went on to say that, as there currently appear to have been no such claims, it would suggest the culprit was either acting alone or as part of a small group loosely connected to a larger network or ideology.

For more on this story see:

Eight-year-old reported among three dead after twin explosions strike Boston Marathon

Boston marathon explosions: eyewitness reports

US will hold whoever carried out Boston explosions accountable, says President Obama

Video: The Boston explosions as they happened

A symbol of the terror: 78-year-old runner's image shows second blast

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz