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San Bernardino attackSyed Rizwan Farook was in touch by phone, social media with “international terrorism subjects”: FBI

Published 4 December 2015

Syed Rizwan Farook, the 28-year man who, with his wife, killed fourteen and injured twenty-one people in a San Bernardino social service center Wednesday, had reportedly been in contact with at least two international terrorism subjects who were already being monitored by the FBI. Farook had been in touch with these international terrorism figures on social media, and that he had also contacted them by phone on several occasions. Law enforcement agencies say the motive for the deadly attack is still to be ascertained.

Syed Rizwan Farook, the 28-year man who, with his wife, killed fourteen and injured twenty-one people in a San Bernardino social service center Wednesday, had reportedly been in contact with at least two international terrorism subjects who were already being monitored by the FBI.

CNN reports that Farook had been in touch with these international terrorism figures on social media, and that he had also contacted them by phone on several occasions.

FBI analysts told CNN that if this information checks out, it may mean that Farouk and his wife may have become radicalized in the months leading up to the deadly attack.

The Washington Post reports thatpolice now say that Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, fired between 70 and 75 rounds as they entered the Inland Regional Centre in San Bernardino on Wednesday morning. The couple, armed with semi-automatic rifle and hand-guns, and wearing bullet-proof vests, also left a home-made pipe bomb at the building.

Their black SUV was surrounded by police in a nearby residential area, and the couple was killed in the shootout that followed. The police found 1,400 .223 ammunition and 200 9mm rounds in the SUV.

The house in nearby Redlands, where the couple lived, police found more than 2,500 round of .223 ammunition, 2,000 bullets for the hand guns and twelve pipe bombs.

In the couple’s home, the police also found tools typically used in the production of more bombs.

At this point, the official police position is that the couple’s motive is ubcear.

“At this point we do not know a motive,” said San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.

FBI official Mark Bowdich told the Independent that the international angle was still being looked at that angle. He said the couple had entered the United States in 2014 and that inquiries were underway into overseas visits that had made — reportedly to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

“It would be premature to call it terrorism at this point,” Bowdich said.

The New York Times reports that on Thursday, President Barack Obama said that the FBI was still investigating the incident and had not yet come to a conclusion as to the motive that lay behind the shooting.

“It is possible that this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know. It’s also possible this was workplace-related,” Obama said after a meeting with his national security team.

“We don’t know why they did it. We don’t know at this point the extent of their plans.”

On CNN, Dr. Kris Mohandie, a clinical psychologist, said that the fact that the couple attacked fellow workers in a social services center, which could not be construed as a high-value target for terrorists, lends support to the idea that the attack was work-related, but this does not necessarily mean that terrorism-related issues were not involved.

Until Wednesday’s attack, neither Farook nor Malik was known to the FBI or on a list of potentially radicalized individuals to be tracked.