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'Pals took backpack of bomb suspect'

THREE college friends of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect removed a backpack containing fireworks emptied of gunpowder from his university dormitory room three days after the attack.

Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev were yesterday charged with conspiring to obstruct justice. A third man, Robel Phillipos, is charged with making false statements.

The affidavit says Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev agreed to get rid of the backpack after concluding from news reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (inset) was one of the bombers.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured on April 15 when two bombs exploded near the finish line.

The suspect's brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died after a gunfight with police several days later. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured and is in hospital.

Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev have been held for more than a week on allegations that they violated their student visas.