(above) A memorial at the military recruiting center where the shootings began on Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn. Credit Kevin Liles for The New York Times
Written by George Thomas
The Islamic State terror group is celebrating Thursday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which killed four U.S. Marines.
ISIS followers took to Twitter, hailing the act, but there’s been no official claim of responsibility.
Muhammad Youseff Abdulazeez, the man responsible for the attack, was inspired by Islam and longed for death.
The FBI is now trying to find out if the 24-year-old was influenced by ISIS propaganda online. His former high school wrestling coach is stunned at his actions.
“He seemed kind of serious, but the more that I had him in class, he turned out to be just a cut up. He was a joker all the time,” Brad Benefield, the alleged shooter’s coach, said.
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Over the past year, ISIS has been urging its followers in America to attack military facilities, police officers, and soldiers.
***Was Muhammad Youseff Abdulazeez inspired by Islamic State’s online propoganda? CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck addresses this and more on CBN Newswatch, July 17, following this report.
The Kuwaiti-born man was reportedly motivated by Islam, writing in a blog that “this life is short and bitter” and that Muslims should not let “the opportunity to submit to Allah pass you by.”
In another post, Abdulazeez wrote, “We ask Allah to make us follow their path… and to know what role we need to play to establish Islam in the world.”
Terrorism analyst John Cohen said individuals inspired by Islam to carry out attacks are increasing.
“What we are increasingly seeing are individuals who may be motivated by an ideology of a terrorist group, may be inspired by the social medial campaign, but are acting independent of those organizations,” Cohen said.
The chaos erupted Thursday morning when the heavily armed 24-year-old college student went on a shooting rampage, first at an Armed Forces recruitment center.
“He just pulled up and the next thing you know, he lifted up his arms like this, holding a big black gun. And it was just one shot and then it was just endless shots,” one eyewitness said.
Minutes later, he was racing in a convertible to a Navy reserve center where he shot and killed four Marines.
“All units respond! All units respond! We are treating this as a mass casualty incident,” the police scanner warned Thursday as the attack unfolded.
For now, authorities are treating Thursday’s killing rampage as an “act of domestic terror.”
Meanwhile, Chattanooga residents are praying.
“We understand as a community what it takes to heal. We are thankful for those who are home safely and we’ll pray for those who aren’t,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.
Thursday night, city residents gathered in churches to pray for the victims’ families and friends and for peace.
“Sometimes you don’t have the words to say. It’s like you really don’t, but just to be there for people, to let people know that we are here, we love you, we are supporting you,” Steve Ball, with the Metro Tabernacle Church, said.
Abdulazeez was not on any U.S. terror list. While authorities believe he acted alone, the FBI is now combing through his computers and online activities to see if he has any foreign terror connections.
Meanwhile, security is being stepped up across the country at military recruiting sites.
SOURCE: CBN News