US authorities are looking into claims by the Islamic State (IS) that it was behind a failed attack on a Texas cartoons contest and exhibit that featured images of the Prophet Mohammad.
Officials said it is too early to determine if the two gunmen involved in the attack had ties with the IS or if they acted on their own before they were shot and killed at the scene of Sunday’s shooting.
The IS has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.
Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix were fatally shot by a police officer when they opened fire with assault rifles outside the cartoon exhibit and contest.
“At this point, this is still under investigation by the FBI and other members of the intelligence community to determine any ties or affiliations that these two individuals may have had with [IS] or other terrorist organizations around the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Officials said separately that investigators do not know whether the IS was opportunistically claiming credit when it had little or no direct or indirect involvement, Reuters reported.
It is possible that IS may have played an “inspirational” role, rather than being directly involved in the attack, an unidentified official was quoted as saying.
The State Department, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that it is offering rewards of up to US$7 million for information on four key leaders of the IS.
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