An aerial view shows the area around a car that was used the previous night by two gunmen, who were killed by police, as it is investigated by local police and the FBI in Garland, Texas

An aerial view shows the area around a car that was used the previous night by two gunmen, who were killed by police, as it is investigated by local police and the FBI in Garland, Texas. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Rex Curry

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(Reuters) U.S. investigators believe two men killed after opening fire on a Texas event that offered a prize for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad represent an evolving model of “lone wolf” militants who are radicalized partly by themselves and partly through long-distance engagement with organized militants.

Although the Islamic State movement claimed credit for the Texas shooting, several U.S. officials said investigators have no evidence that either of the men shot dead by security personnel after they opened fire at the Garland, Texas, event traveled to Syria or Iraq. U.S. court documents do show that one of the men, Elton Simpson, once tried to travel to Somalia.

Officials also said that no hard evidence had emerged to demonstrate that Simpson and the second Texas shooter, Nadir Soofi, attacked the contest venue under direct orders, or encouragement, from Islamic State leaders.

However, investigators are examining exchanges on Twitter in the days before the attack between Simpson and Junaid Hussain of the Cybercaliphate, an affiliate of IS, as well as between Simpson and Mujahid Miski of Minnesota, another alleged recruiter for violent jihad.

But a U.S. official said investigators believed it was likely that IS played an “inspirational” rather than an “operational” role in the attack.

Soofi’s father said that someone coerced his son into participating in the attack, the Dallas Morning News reported on Wednesday (May 6).

In a written statement posted online by the newspaper, Azam Soofi described Nadir as “a model son.”

“Someone pushed him into this situation,” Azam Soofi said in the statement. He was not immediately available for comment.

Nadir Soofi, who was born in the United States but lived abroad as a child, was a popular schoolboy in Pakistan but struggled to adjust after moving back to the U.S. as a teen, friends who studied with him in Pakistan said.

A U.S. intelligence official said that while the United States was concerned about Westerners traveling to Syria to fight with IS, “We also remain concerned about individuals in the West who are inspired by ISIL’s propaganda and may take violent action on their own … We expect IS and its supporters to continue their efforts to incite fear and encourage lone wolf attacks around the world.”

According to a U.S. intelligence estimate seen by Reuters, U.S. agencies now believe that around 22,500 foreign fighters, including at least 4,000 Westerners, have traveled to Syria from more than 100 countries. That overall estimate, prepared in recent weeks, was 500 greater than a U.S. estimate issued in February.

However, U.S. officials questioned the authenticity of a purported Islamic State communiques that surfaced on Wednesday that claimed the group had trained 71 soldiers in 15 different U.S. states who were “ready at our word to attack any target we have desired.” The communiques said that 23 of the 71 had signed up for “missions like” the Texas attack last weekend.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, Jon Herskovitz  and Lisa Maria Garza.) 


  1. Has anyone ever considered that groups like Al Queda and ISIS don’t actually do much when it comes to these “lone wolf militants” but just takes credit?

    In many ways Al Queda and ISIS became the “Hello Kitty” of terrorism. As silly as that sounds, let me explain. Sanrio corporation owns the Hello Kitty image and makes its money licensing it out. They don’t produce anything with the Hello Kitty logo. They farm it out to practically any takers (including firearms and “pleasure toy” manufacturers)

    Much in the same way, ISIS is a name brand for terrorists to invoke when they want to sound like they are part of a greater whole. Not just a bunch of violent ne’er do wells. ISIS doesn’t care because it inflates their importance. The terrorists sound much more fearsome.

  2. This is about what Islam IS and what Muslims do.

    The Koran and consistent Islamic and world history is quite clear that non-Muslims are enemies that must be subjugated and/or murdered.

    The person that takes the credit for Muslims killing people is Muhammad the prophet of allah and the people known as Muslims that carry out the directions of this religious and political movement.

    Islam was and is spread by Muslims like ISIS-Muslims. They are just doing what a Muslims does and are acting like Islam directs.

    • BB, you may receive your check from ISIS at the nearest Saudi Consulate. Good work supporting the Islamicists. Giving them legitimacy and claiming they speak for the entire faith of Islam.

      Then again, what should I expect from a fundamentalist. You are delusional enough to claim to speak for all of Christendom. So naturally of course you think like-minded extremists do the same for Islam.

      • Well the Islamic “moderates” seem to be very quiet when it comes to condemning the brutal death and destruction of the so-called radicals. Either they are hand-wringers, or offering quiet support for their more aggressive brothers. You’d think by now they would be marching on Washington condemning the fundamental Mohammedans.

        • That’s a well worn fiction as well. There are usually well publicized and readily accessible stories of moderates (usually those living in freedom loving places like the US) speaking out and denouncing extremists. It is well documented enough to make your statement an off told screed and outright lie.

          But just like Christian fundamentalists deny the existence and legitimacy of moderates and liberal sects of their own faith, they do so for other faiths as well. It takes an extremist to know an extremist.

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