US & Canada

Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (L), 26, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19
Image caption Tamerlan Tsarnaev (L) died after a police shootout, while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (R) is in custody

Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried at an undisclosed location, Massachusetts police say.

Tsarnaev's body "is no longer in the City of Worcester and is now entombed", a police statement said.

Authorities had been struggling to find a community willing to accept Tsarnaev's body.

The announcement came as the first hearing into the bombing was held in the US House of Representatives.

Tsarnaev was killed during a manhunt after last month's bombing, which killed three and injured more than 260.

Dozens of protesters picketed the Worcester funeral home holding his body last week.

Unknown location

"As a result of our public appeal for help, a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased," a police statement said.

Image caption Barricades are removed from the funeral home where Tamerlan Tsarnaev's remains were held

The statement also thanked "the community that provided the burial site".

Tsarnaev and his brother are accused of planting two bombs near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon on 15 April.

After being hit in a shootout with police, Tsarnaev was reportedly run over by his younger brother as he escaped from the scene in a car.

Surviving brother Dzhokhar is in a prison hospital after being shot and injured during the police manhunt.

The two are also suspected of shooting dead one policeman and injuring another.

The family are ethnic Chechen Muslims from Russia and had been living in the US for about a decade. Tamerlan was drawn to radical Islam.

His wife, Katherine Russell, declined to pick up his body from the medical examiner's office, allowing his relatives to claim the remains instead and arrange for a funeral.

'Our system failed'

At a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Boston officials did not know that Russian officials had contacted both the FBI and the CIA about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"My understanding is that at no time prior to the bombing did any member of Massachusetts State Police or the [intelligence-gathering] fusion centre have any knowledge of the Tsarnaev brothers," Mr Davis said.

The city police chief said he only learned about Tsarnaev's background after the brothers were involved in the shootout.

Some House members expressed outrage over the apparent lack of intelligence sharing with local officials.

Republican Michael McCaul, the committee's chair, said he feared the bombers had succeeded "because our system failed".

"The idea that the feds have the information and it's not shared with the state and locals defies why we created a Department of Homeland Security in the first place," Mr McCaul added.

Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee was also concerned that a trip Tsarnaev took to Russia last year did not trigger more intelligence gathering on the brothers.

"It still baffles all of us," she said.

For his part, Mr Davis said he was "not ready to vilify anybody" but said he was "looking forward to the reviews of what occurred so that we can get to the bottom of a lot of different questions".

In his written testimony, the police chief also called for heightened security at public events, including surveillance technology, but cautioned against "police-state" tactics.

"Images from cameras do not lie," he said, citing the role a private security camera played in identifying the Boston suspects. "They do not forget."

"This need, however, must be balanced against the protections of our constitutional liberties. I do not endorse actions that move Boston and our nation into a police-state mentality, with surveillance cameras attached to every light pole in the city."