San Bernardino shooters planned bigger attack, investigators believe

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California shooting: Police divers search lake in San Bernardino terror massacre probe.

The underwater search stemmed from unspecified leads that the married couple who carried out the shooting spree were near Seccombe Lake on the day of the the shooting rampage left 14 people dead at a holiday party in Southern California. WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are continuing to review information about other possible attack plans involving the San Bernardino shooters, based in part on interviews with the man who provided the two semi-automatic rifles used in last week’s assault that left 14 dead, a federal law enforcement official said. Bowdich said investigators already have combed the surrounding park, and that the search of the lake by FBI and Sheriff’s Department divers could take days. It’s unclear how many groups Malik tried to contact, but the organizations included al Qaeda’s Syria-based affiliate, the Nusrah Front, according to the government sources. Investigators told the network that Farook had ties to Sohiel Kabir, a 37-year-old Afghan-born American citizen who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role as a ringleader of a 2012 plan to recruit fighters for al-Qaida to attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Seccombe Lake Park lies about 2.5 miles north of the Inland Regional Center, the social services agency where 14 people were killed and 22 others injured when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed a holiday gathering of his co-workers there on December 2 and opened fire with assault rifles. Marquez has so far not been charged in connection with the attack, but the official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, characterized the Farook associate as an ongoing focus of the wide-ranging inquiry. Farook, 28, a US-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and Malik, 29, a Pakistani native he married last year in Saudi Arabia, were slain hours after their attack in a shootout with police.

The FBI said it is treating the mass shooting as an act of terrorism, citing the couple’s declaration that they were acting on behalf of the militant group ISIS, as well as a large cache of weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials seized in the investigation. Farook’s association with Kabir raises questions about why the federal government did not have the 28-year-old health inspector on its radar before last week’s massacre. But if the crime proves to have been the work of killers driven by militant Islamic ideology, as the FBI suspects, it would mark the deadliest such attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2011.

State Department spokesman John Kirby has acknowledged that it is unlikely that Malik faced any tougher questioning than others applying for the visa. The latest slayings and disclosures about the killers’ backgrounds have put law U.S. law enforcement on heightened alert and reverberated into the U.S. presidential campaign, intensifying debates over gun control, immigration and national security. The FBI also revealed investigators were looking into any connections there may have been between one of the two killers in San Bernardino last week and four men arrested in 2012 in a separate federal terrorism case brought in nearby Riverside, California.

The Wall Street Journal reported divers were scouring the body of water for the suspects’ missing computer hard drive. “I can confirm we are searching for any evidence that has to do with this crime,” Bowdich said at a press conference on Thursday. “We have indications through leads that at some point they came to this park. Speaking to reporters at Seccombe Lake yesterday, Bowdich disclosed the FBI was examining whether Farook had any links with the four conspirators in the Riverside case, as CNN and other media outlets have reported. There is no belief that there is anything dangerous at this place as a result of this incident.” ASSOCIATED PRESS This July 27, 2014, file photo provided by U.S.

Bowdich continued to describe the scope of the inquiry as “massive.” He also updated the number of injured from 21 to 22, saying that another victim recently sought treatment for injuries suffered in the attack. FBI Director James Comey told a Senate panel Wednesday that the two shooters appeared to be radicalized individually before they met online where they discussed jihad and martyrdom. Asked whether the FBI knew of any ties between Farook and the four convicted Riverside conspirators, Bowdich said: “It would be irresponsible not to investigate.” Officials have previously raised the likelihood that people who witnessed suspicious behavior involving the California shooters prior to the attack did not immediately pass it on to authorities.

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