Islamic State claims responsibility for Texas art exhibit attack
Cairo: The Islamic State claimed
responsibility on Tuesday for a weekend attack at a centre near Dallas, Texas,
that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad - though it offered
no evidence of a direct link to the attackers.
An audio statement on the extremist
group's Al Bayan radio station said that "two soldiers of the
caliphate" carried out Sunday's attack and promised the group would
deliver more attacks in the future.
The Islamic State did not provide
details and it was unclear whether the group was opportunistically claiming the
attack as its own. It was the first time the IS, which frequently calls for
attacks against the West, had claimed responsibility for one in the United
Two suspects in Sunday's attack in the
Dallas suburb of Garland were shot dead after opening fire at a security guard
outside the centre.
It was also unclear from the
statement whether the group, which has captured large swaths of territory in
Syria and Iraq, had an actual hand in the operation, or whether the two
suspects had pledged allegiance to the group and then carried out the attack on
The suspects have been identified by
officials as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. They opened fire on an unarmed
security officer stationed outside the contest centre featuring cartoons of the
According to mainstream Islamic
tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad and others prophets,
including Jesus and Moses - even a respectful one - is considered blasphemous.
Drawings similar to those featured at the Texas event have sparked violence
around the world.
The authenticity of the IS statement
could not be independently confirmed but it was read on the Al Bayan radio - a
station based in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which the group has proclaimed the
capital of its self-styled caliphate.
"We tell... America that what is
coming will be more grievous and more bitter and you will see from the soldiers
of the Caliphate what will harm you, God willing," it said.
There have been numerous attacks in
Western countries believed related in some way to the group, which holds
roughly a third of Iraq and Syria.
In October, Canada was hit by two
terror attacks by the so-called "lone wolves" believed to have been
inspired by the Islamic State group. In Ottawa, a gunman shot and killed a
soldier at Canada's National War Memorial and then stormed parliament before
being gunned down. Two days earlier, a man ran over two soldiers in a parking
lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot to death by
Following the IS claim of
responsibility, IS members and followers celebrated online with postings on
IS-affiliated militant websites.
"How are you (Americans) going
to live when we create our lone wolves to be nuclear bombs... by God, you can't
match us and in the heart of your homes you will see," said one Twitter
"Let anyone who wants to draw
the picture of our Prophet to think one thousand times before doing so, because
our hands can reach his neck," said another.