Islamic State’s official radio station Al-Bayan aired a statement Saturday saying the December 2 mass shooting in California was carried out by two of its “supporters.”
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While praising the attack, the group stopped short of claiming responsibility for it. Saturday’s claim echoes one carried Friday by the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency.
Tashfeen Malik, 27, and her 29-year-old husband Syed Farook, killed 14 people at a social services center in San Bernardino on Wednesday before they were gunned down in an SUV a few miles away in a shootout with police.
The radio report did not refer to Farook and Malik as actual Islamic State members. Terrorists affiliated with IS who carry out attacks are commonly referred to in the group’s propaganda as “lions,” ”fighters” or “mujahedeen.”
A Facebook executive confirmed Friday that Malik had praised Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a post on the social media site just minutes into the attack. Investigators had earlier revealed Malik pledged allegiance to IS and al-Baghdadi in the post.
The FBI said Friday that it was investigating the mass shooting as an “act of terrorism.” David Bowdich, assistant director of the bureau’s Los Angeles office, told a news conference that the two shooters had attempted to destroy evidence, including crushing two cell phones and discarding them in a trash can.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the case to understand the shooters’ motivations and whether they were planning further attacks, he said.
Law enforcement officials continue their investigation around the Ford SUV vehicle that was the scene where suspects of the shooting at the Inland Regional Center were killed, on December 4, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)
Law enforcement officials continue their investigation around the Ford SUV vehicle that was the scene where suspects of the shooting at the Inland Regional Center were killed, on December 4, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)
This undated photo provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Syed Rizwan Farook who has been named as the suspect in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings. (California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)
This undated photo provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Syed Rizwan Farook who has been named as the suspect in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings. (California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)
FBI agents had been combing through cellphones and a computer hard drive left behind by the couple to try to establish a motive for the killings.
CNN, quoting US officials, said Friday that Farook had been in contact with known terror suspects overseas and had become radicalized after marrying Malik in Saudi Arabia last year, although an imam at a local mosque he attended said Farook showed no signs of that.
According to the New York Times, the FBI also has evidence Farook had communicated with extremists domestically and abroad a few years ago.
The couple had more than 1,600 bullets with them when they were killed by authorities, and had more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition at their home, as well as 12 pipe bombs and tools that could be used to make explosive devices.