ISIL claims California mass killers as followers

ISIL claims California mass killers as followers

SAN BERNARDINO, California - Reuters
ISIL claims California mass killers as followers

Candles are placed at a makeshift memorial site honoring the victims of Wednesday's shooting rampage, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. AP photo

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) said on Dec. 4 that the married couple who killed 14 people in a mass shooting in Southern California were its followers, and FBI agents raided a home apparently belonging to a friend of the husband. 

ISIL’s claim came in an online audio broadcast three days after U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire with assault rifles on a holiday party for civil servants in San Bernardino, 100 km east of Los Angeles. 

The pair, who had left their six-month-old baby daughter with relatives, were killed two hours later in a shootout with police SWAT team members. 

Federal agents tore through a garage door to search a house in Riverside, a few kms southwest of San Bernardino, on a street where neighbors said Farook once lived. 

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed agents made a “precautionary tactical entry” while serving a federal search warrant, but she declined to give details. 

Neighbors named the man who lived there as Enrique Marquez and said he was often seen with Farook. 

NBC News said the house belongs to a man who authorities believe bought the rifles used in the attack. 

If the Dec. 2 mass shooting proves to have been the work of people inspired by jihadist militants, it would be the deadliest such attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. 

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, told the New York Times the country has entered “an entirely new phase” in the global threat from extremists. 

Enemies such as ISIL have “in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland,” he told the newspaper.

“We’ve seen this not just here but in other places. This requires a whole new approach, in my view.” 

FBI officials say Farook and Malik seem to have been inspired by foreign militant groups, but that there was no sign they worked with any of them or that ISIL even knew who they were. 

Estranged relatives of Malik say she and her father seemed to have abandoned the family’s moderate Islam and become more radicalized during time they spent in Saudi Arabia.