Chechen rebels have denied any role in the Boston Marathon bombings even as Russian authorities confirmed that the prime Chechen suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, did visit North Caucasus last year.

“The Caucasian mujahideen are not engaged in military hostilities with the United States of America. We are fighting Russia, which is responsible, not only for the occupation of the Caucasus, but also for horrendous crimes against Muslims,” the Dagestani wing of the so-called Caucasus Emirate insurgency said in a statement posted on a rebel website.

The statement pointed out that even in Russia civilian targets are not attacked as per an order of the Caucasus Emirate leader, Doku Umarov.

The statement described as “speculative” media reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev could have links with Caucasus Emirate militants when he spent six months in Dagestan last year.

Immigration authorities in Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, confirmed on Monday that Tamerlan visited the region and applied for a new Russian passport claiming he had lost his own one. However, they said he had never collected the new passport, which is still with the immigration service in Dagestan.

Russian authorities have not commented on the possible contacts of the suspected Boston bombers with Chechen rebels, but unnamed security sources in Chechnya denied any connection. According to U.S. security services, they received a Russian request in 2011 to check Tamerlan for terrorist affiliations.

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