Islamic State Says California Shooters Were ‘Followers’ of Group

By Zack
December 5, 2015 12:01 pm Last Updated: December 5, 2015 12:01 pm

Terror group ISIS on its radio station said that the two Muslims who attacked a holiday party in California and killed 14 people are “followers.” 

“Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernadino in California,” the group’s daily broadcast al-Bayan said, according to Reuters.

Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked a group of health officials, co-workers of Farook, in San Bernardino on December 2. 

ISIS, also known as Daesh or ISIL, praised the attack.

“We pray to God to accept them as martyrs,” the radio station declared.

This photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows ammunition carried by suspects at the scene of a shootout in San Bernardino, Calif. Multiple attackers opened fire on a banquet at a social services center for the disabled in San Bernardino on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, killing multiple people and sending police on a manhunt for suspects. (San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department shows ammunition carried by suspects at the scene of a shootout in San Bernardino, Calif. Multiple attackers opened fire on a banquet at a social services center for the disabled in San Bernardino on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, killing multiple people and sending police on a manhunt for suspects. (San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

 

Officials are still investigating the motives behind the attack, but sources told multiple news agencies that Malik pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS on Facebook just before carrying it out.

Based on the fact Farook, according to co-workers, changed after he arrived home from Saudi Arabia with Malik as his fiancee, officials say the likelihood is that she radicalized him.

But the terror group’s acknowledgement of Malik and Farook as supporters doesn’t mean they were members or that someone from the group helped them plan or ordered the attack, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Francona told CNN.

ISIS typically calls attackers with direct connections “knights” or “soldiers.”

“What they’re calling these two are supporters, which is kind of a lesser level,” indicating it might not have had direct contact with the couple, Francona said.

Melissa Smith prays at a makeshift memorial on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. A husband and wife on Wednesday, dressed for battle and carrying assault rifles and handguns, opened fire on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, the couple died in a shootout with police.  (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Melissa Smith prays at a makeshift memorial on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. A husband and wife on Wednesday, dressed for battle and carrying assault rifles and handguns, opened fire on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing multiple people and seriously wounding others in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, the couple died in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

 

 

But Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst, told ABC News she would not be surprised if Malik had been ISIS-inspired. “Terrorism is not gender-specific,” she said.

A recent report by George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security said that of the 71 individuals arrested in the U.S. since March 2014 with purported ties to ISIS, 10 were female.

Bakos, whose work with the CIA concentrated on al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to ISIS, noted that al Qaeda tried to use a woman in a failed suicide attack in Jordan in 2005. 

“Men don’t have a monopoly on terrorism or conducting violent acts,” she said. “At this point, in the evolution of terrorism, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a woman take an operational role.”