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Islamic State guilty? Las Vegas mass shooting a IS terror attack?

Islamic State guilty? Las Vegas mass shooting a IS terror attack?

ISIS News Agency Amaq had claimed on Monday, “The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition,” referencing the American led coalition in the Middle East.

They added, “The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago,”  an easy claim to make and one that is virtually impossible to refute. All indications from close contacts of Paddock were that he was not religious and nobody described any recent change in his behavior.

Islamic state called for a terror attack on Las Vegas strip in May video.
The video could have been a call to arms for a potential strike.

The video the terrorist group that showed footage of Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio Hotel and other icons from the casino row on South Las Vegas Boulevard.

The terror propaganda video, released by ISIS on May 17, features extremist fighters from the US, Canada, the UK, Russia and Belgium, who call on Muslims living in the West to carry attacks on civilian targets.

As images of The Strip, as well as New York’s Times Square and Washington DC, flash across the screen, ISIS spokesman Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir is heard urging lone wolf attacks in America, Russia, and Europe, according to an analysis of the video by the Middle East Research Institute.

The speech exhorting violence plays a song by the German rapper Deso Dogg, whose real name is Denis Cuspert, a known ISIS militant.

ISIS, or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the Las Vegas attack on an outdoor music event

Terrorism experts said Monday they are not surprised ISIS would claim to be linked to the Nevada shooting since it fits a recent pattern of the terrorist group trying to claim credit for high-profile incidents.

“It seems like they’re desperate for attention and will claim just about everything,” said Colin Clarke, a Pittsburgh-based political scientist and terrorism expert for the think tank Rand Corporation. “They’ve lost so much territory, and they fear they’re becoming irrelevant.”

The fact that the Islamic State called for such an attack doesn’t mean that the attack last night was a jihad massacre. But no doubt Islamic State jihadis are celebrating.

For several reasons, there has been increased skepticism of ISIS’s claim this time around. If the militant group’s statements turn out to be groundless, however, that would be unusual. ISIS rarely takes official responsibility for an attack without having played a role in it. Sometimes that role is limited to ideological inspiration for the attackers, but there is usually some justification for the group’s claim

US officials, including the FBI and Las Vegas sheriff’s department, have said they have no evidence to tie the shooting, which was carried out by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock and left more than 50 people dead, to ISIS. “We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” FBI investigator Aaron Rouse told reporters Monday.

But the group has doubled down on its claim — releasing a statement and video, even going so far as to provide an alleged nom de guerre used by Paddock.

ISIS is having to adjust to being put on the defensive over the last year, with its territory in Iraq and Syria shrinking dramatically in the face of a US-led campaign. The collapse of its self-declared caliphate, with its capital in Raqqa, has prompted a shift in its propaganda strategy away from promoting the idealized version of life under their rule that ISIS has highlighted to an emphasis on external attacks, analysts said.

The announcement also may not have been targeted at Americans, Tinsley said. “Jihadists do not primarily message to Westerners. They’re more often and more specifically for those who are already in their camp or sympathetic,” he said.

Trump had not commented on ISIS’s claim by Monday evening, and the White House was not asked about it during the daily briefing, though some of the president’s political allies, including former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, credulously tweeted about the announcement.

The FBI declared again the attack most likely was done by one person only. They didn’t see a connection to Islamic State or any other known terror organization.