San Bernardino Shooter Pledged Allegiance to ISIL, Police Say
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The FBI is investigating this week’s massacre of 14 people by a married couple in California as an “act of terrorism,” officials said Friday, noting that the female shooter had pledged allegiance to a leader of the militant group Daesh (ISIL).
Tashfeen Malik, 27, a native of Pakistan who lived in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years, and her US-born husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, were killed in a shootout with police hours after the Wednesday attack during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 100 km east of Los Angeles.
If the investigation does prove that the attack was the work of people inspired by radical militants, it would be the most serious such attack since Sept. 11, 2001.
Malik had pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an online post, David Bowdich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles office, said at a news conference.
“Based on the information and the facts as we know them, we are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism,” Bowdich said, Reuters reported.
Asked about a reported Facebook post by Malik on the day of the attack pledging loyalty to Daesh, Bowdich said, “Yes, there was a pledge of allegiance.”
But a US government official said there was no evidence that Daesh even knew who the shooters were.
“The investigation so far has delivered indications of radicalization by the killers and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told reporters in Washington. “We have no indication that these killers are part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell. There is no indication that they are part of a network.”
Bowdich also said the FBI was examining crushed cellphones found near the shooting scene.
The couple may have been planning an additional attack, he added.
Farook, born in Illinois to Pakistani immigrant parents, worked as an inspector for the San Bernardino County Department of Environment Health, the agency whose holiday party he and Malik are accused of attacking Wednesday.
The couple’s landlord in the town of Redlands opened their townhouse to media Friday, leading to a flurry of reporters and camera crews surveying the scene. The landlord later asked media to leave.