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Saturday, December 5, 2015, 18:41

IS says followers carried out California attack

By Reuters

IS says followers carried out California attack
This undated combination of photos provided by the FBI, left, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook. The husband and wife died in a fierce gunbattle with authorities several hours after their commando-style assault on a gathering of Farook's colleagues from San Bernardino, Calif., County's health department , Dec 2, 2015. (FBI, left, and California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)

BEIRUT - Islamic State said in an online radio broadcast on Saturday that two followers of the Islamist militant group had carried out Wednesday's attack on a social services agency party in California in which 14 people were killed.

"Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernadino in California, opening fire inside the center, leading to the deaths of 14 people and wounding more than 20 others," the group's daily broadcast al-Bayan said, giving information already widely reported.

A news agency that supports Islamic State, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, said on Friday the attackers were followers of the group. The broadcast was the first claim from the group itself.

US government sources have said there is no evidence the attack was directed by the militant group, or that it even knew who the attackers were.

The FBI said it lacked evidence that the married couple who carried out the attack belonged to a larger organization of extremists.

But the FBI said it is investigating the massacre as an "act of terrorism," officials said on Friday, noting the wife was believed to have pledged allegiance to a leader of the militant group Islamic State.

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 attack during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times cited a federal law enforcement source in reporting that the husband had contact with at least two militant groups overseas, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in Syria.

If the mass shooting proves to have been the work of people inspired by Islamist militants, as investigators now suspect, it would mark the deadliest such attack in the United States since Sept 11, 2001.

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