Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving bomber, is said to have disclosed that he and his brother Tamerlan intended to attack Times Square, one of the city’s busiest areas, before being halted by police last Friday.

“Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets,” Mr Bloomberg said at a press conference at City Hall today.

“He told the FBI, apparently, that he and his brother had intended to drive to New York and detonate additional explosives in Times Square. They had built these explosives and we know they had the capacity to carry out the catastrophe.”

The Tsarnaev brothers instead faced a shootout with police in Boston in the early hours of last Friday. Tamerlan, 26, was killed during the battle but Dzhokhar, 19, escaped. He was later discovered hiding in a boat in the garden of a house in the suburb of Watertown and has been charged with the bombings.

Mr Bloomberg and Ray Kelly, the New York police commissioner, said the brothers held another pressure-cooker bomb like the two they detonated at the Boston marathon last Monday, killing three people and wounding more than 200. They also had five pipe bombs, the city officials said.

The bombers were previously reported by The Boston Globe to have told the driver of a vehicle they carjacked shortly before Friday’s shootout: “We just killed a cop. We blew up the Marathon. And now we’re going to New York.”

Mr Kelly said at Thursday’s press conference that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had told investigators that he and his his brother had initially planned to escape to New York to “party”, but had “spontaneously” decided instead to mount a second attack.

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