Islamic State-affiliated ‘news’ agency praises San Bernardino shootings

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Earlier today, ‘Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State’s online propaganda operations, released the statement above praising the shootings in San Bernardino, California. The message was released on the website for ‘Amaq and disseminated on Twitter.

‘Amaq has not claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the “caliphate.” Instead, the media group says that “supporters” of the Islamic State killed 14 people and wounded 17. The statement also noted the husband and wife responsible were from Pakistan.

Thus far, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization has not issued an official declaration on the massacre. The jihadists may do so in short order, but their rhetoric thus far is consistent with an act of terror that was inspired by the Islamic State, but not directed by it.

For example, the message from ‘Amaq notes that the killings in San Bernardino were carried out not long after the coordinated assault in Paris on November 13 and a suicide bombing in Tunisia on November 24. The Paris operation was organized by Islamic State officials and members based in Syria, according to numerous accounts. And within hours the Islamic State issued an official claim of responsibility in several languages. The same was true in the case of the Tunisia bombing, which was quickly claimed by the Islamic State’s followers in North Africa.

In the case of Paris, the Islamic State said “soldiers of the Caliphate” were responsible. Indeed, the terrorists were known members of group. In the case of Tunisia, the Islamic State’s message said that a “knight from the knights of martyrdom” struck presidential guards. In both instances, the official statements were formatted in the same fashion, with white text, a blue body, and a red header. This is, in fact, the format the Islamic State’s international network uses for most claimed attacks.

It is worth noting that with respect to San Bernardino, no such statement has been disseminated — at least not yet. Officials are looking into the terrorists’ backgrounds, their connections, travels, and other details. All of this evidence needs to be weighed. For example, in the past, Syed Farook reportedly contacted individuals “associated” with al Qaeda’s branches in Syria and Somalia. So it is still too early to draw firm conclusions about the couple’s ties. However, the Islamic State’s reaction (or lack thereof) is consistent with a plot inspired, but not planned by the organization.

Details in the statement from ‘Amaq were first published in the Western media. Neither ‘Amaq, nor any other propaganda outlet connected to the Islamic State, has offered any new details about the attackers to date.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • James says:

    Anyone want to know my take on the matter? I believe they were a sleeper cell that acted ‘prematurely’ or at the spur of the moment. Probably something was said at the social gathering that set him off. Like bombs that sometimes prematurely detonate.

    The question is, what were their long range plans? And, where are the others out there just like them?

    Once again, Twitter Inc. allows itself to become the mouthpiece ‘servers’ of ISIS and terrorists. I tell you, if it were up to me, at least some of them would be in jail right now and charged with if not outright treason, then at least charges of promoting terrorism.

    Let the lawyers and [so-called] ‘civil libertarians’ whine all they want. Prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity, as long as they are acting in good faith and in their official capacities.

  • ulises says:


  • Arjuna says:

    You’re close… they were sleepers who acted post-maturely and possibly in anger. He was gonna hit a target in 2011-2012 and got spooked. The Jewish colleague may have set him off. Anyone who is willing to die in an attack like that is a loose cannon by definition. Why didn’t the gun range owner report them? Was she in her Sheetsuit while shooting?
    The “we can follow them easier” argument for social media by L.E. is such a loser. All jihadist propaganda should be treated as illegal, banned and taken down.


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