ISIS describes San Bernardino attackers as followers.

ISIS Describes California Attackers as Followers

ISIS Describes California Attackers as Followers

The Slatest
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Dec. 5 2015 12:10 PM

ISIS Describes California Attackers as Followers

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In this handout provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tashfeen Malik poses for a photo at an unsepcified date and location.

Photo by FBI via Getty Images

ISIS said on Saturday that the married couple who carried out the attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead this week were followers of the terrorist group. The group made the statement in an online radio program that was broadcast on Saturday shortly after the FBI said it was investigating Wednesday’s attack as an “act of terrorism.”

“Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernadino in California,” the group’s daily online radio broadcast al-Bayan said. An English-language version of the broadcast was later released that said the attackers were “soldiers” of the Islamic State. “It was unclear if the English version was claiming them as members, or why there was an inconsistency,” notes Reuters. The difference is significant because calling them supporters implies they acted independently while referring to them as “knights” or “soldiers” would imply they were directed by ISIS, points out CNN.

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The Wall Street Journal cautions that “Islamic State tends to claim a wide range of attacks, though its involvement is often disputed.” Yet the declaration comes shortly after officials said one of the shooters pledged loyalty to ISIS while the attack was going on.  

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.