Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Thursday that the shooting in Texas at a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest was inspired by — but not directed by — the Islamic State.
The terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, took credit for the attack, a claim Mr. Carter discounted.
“I think again our understanding from the investigations that are going on is that these were inspired by ISIL, not directed by ISIL, which is an important distinction,” he told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon. “Still, in all, it’s concerning that there are individuals like this who draw their inspiration from ISIL.”
Two gunmen in Garland, Texas, opened fire on a crowd at the cartoon contest with images of the Prophet Mohammad — considered blasphemous by Muslims — but were both shot by a security officer and killed before hurting anyone in the crowd. One security guard was injured in the attack.
The Islamic State penned a letter threatening a six-month terror campaign in five states: Virginia, Maryland, California, Illinois and Michigan.
Mr. Carter said Americans should take these threats seriously.
“I think we have to take it seriously and I think our law enforcement and our homeland security folks have been saying the same,” he said.
He also said the spread of the Islamic State to the West is another reason why the defeat of the terrorist group worldwide is so important.
“It’s important in Syria, it’s important in Iraq and it has this larger meaning because of the ability of a movement like this to inspire a certain sort of person,” he said.
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