ISIS claims Texas attack, first on American soil
Claim shooting at an anti-Muslim event in Texas showcasing Prophet Mohammed cartoons
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group claimed on Tuesday its first attack on U.S. soil, a shooting at an anti-Muslim event in Texas over the weekend showcasing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
“Two of the soldiers of the caliphate executed an attack on an art exhibit in Garland, Texas, and this exhibit was portraying negative pictures of the Prophet Mohammed,” the radical group said.
“We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter, and that you will see the soldiers of the Islamic State do terrible things,” the group announced.
The White House said later on Tuesday it was too early to link ISIS the attack.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the attack by two gunmen was “still under investigation,” adding that it was “too early to say at this point” whether it ISIS was responsible.
It was the first time ISIS claimed to have carried out an attack in the U.S.
Police said two men drove up to the conference center Sunday in Garland, Texas, where the right-wing American Freedom Defense Initiative was organizing the controversial cartoon contest, and began shooting at a security guard.
Garland police officers then shot and killed both men.
According to U.S. media reports, the two suspected jihadists were Elton Simpson, 31, and Nadir Soofi, 34, who shared an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona.
Simpson was being investigated by the FBI over alleged plans to travel to Somalia to wage holy war, court records show.
Many Muslims find drawings of the prophet to be disrespectful or outright blasphemous, and such cartoons have been cited by Islamists as motivation in several previous attacks.
U.S. authorities had been investigating possible links with ISIS.
According to news reports, the Twitter account Shariah is Light used the hashtag #texasattack before the violence erupted with a pledge of allegiance to the ‘leader of the faithful’ in reference to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi – the website Vocativ reported.
And after the shootings, another allegedly ISIS-allied Twitter account tweeted: “They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State.”
The report added that the shooting happened at a cartoon drawing event, where people were apparently encouraged to draw pictures of the prophet – which was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative – which is said to be classified as a hate group.