The mass shooting carried out in Las Vegas at a country music festival may have War on Terror overtones.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the mass shooting, although that fact has not been confirmed by law enforcement authorities. The SITE Intel Group has said ISIS has staked the claim, arguing the shooter had converted to Islam months ago.
SITE claimed this in a tweet: “#BREAKING: #ISIS claimed #LasVegas attack, reporting through ‘Amaq that executor is one of its “soldiers” & he converted to Islam months ago.”
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) October 2, 2017
The shooter committed suicide before police officers could reach him, but he has now been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, according to the Washington Examiner.
While ISIS has not offered proof for their claim that the man converted or was acting in league with it, the terrorist organization has previously suggested Las Vegas as a target.
In May, ISIS released a 44-minute video which called for Muslims in the West to attack civilians. One subtitle read, “Know that our war with our enemy is an all-out war and the interests of the enemy can be easily targeted.”
The video showed images of the Las Vegas strip, including the Bellagio Hotel, Caesar’s Palace, and other locations. The video did not mention Las Vegas by name.
At the time, Metro Police generally appeared to take the threat seriously, according to the Washington Times.
The head of the Southern Nevada Counterterrorism Center, Capt. Christopher Darcy, said, “I think anytime somebody goes on the Internet and makes a threat, that they’re going to conduct a lone-wolf or any type of attack, it’s our responsibility to view it as a credible threat.”
“It would be irresponsible not to take any threat as credible, especially when made by a group such as ISIS, who has in fact carried out attacks in the past,” Capt. Darcy added.
The video also showed clips of Time’s Square and Washington, DC. The video suggested that the strategy of ISIS was to force the Western world to be too busy fighting domestic terrorism to continue its push against ISIS in the Middle East.
One ISIS terrorist, Al-Hassan, said, “Make sure they are preoccupied with their own safety, thus diverting their attention away from your Caliphate.”
The video also suggested that the attacks should be similar to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. That attack, committed by Omar Mateen, resulted in the death of 49 people. Dozens more were injured.
It was later revealed that Mateen had sworn loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an ISIS leader.
It is currently unknown whether the Las Vegas shooter made any similar statements of loyalty to ISIS leaders.
ISIS has instructed its followers to attack Western targets on their own soil. Do you believe the attack in Las Vegas is related to ISIS?
SITE has since re-tweeted Rita Katz who suggested that, unless ISIS offers evidence Paddock was involved with the terrorist organization, their claim of his crimes could simply reveal desperation.
3) Given what is known of attacker Stephen Paddock, #ISIS needs evidence. Otherwise, might make ISIS appear (more) desperate for claims
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) October 2, 2017
Katz adds, “Tho rare, Amaq follow-up claim was needed on #ISIS’ part: currently no known radical religious element to Paddock’s background.”
Christian News Alerts will update this story as necessary as events unfold and facts become available.