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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
Extras
indybest
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

Circles South East Youth Service: Youth Services Volunteer

this is an unpaid voluntary position: Circles South East Youth Service: LOOKIN...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £30,000+

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading privately owned sp...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn