Chattanooga shooting suspect's Mideast travel being probed

2015-07-17 19:04


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Chattanooga - US authorities are investigating trips that the suspect in the fatal shootings of four Marines in Tennessee took to the Middle East, including at least one to Jordan and a possible visit to Yemen, a source close to the probe said on Friday.

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, identified as the shooter by the FBI, was shot to death in a rampage on Thursday at two military facilities in Chattanooga.

The attack, which comes at a time when US military and law enforcement authorities are increasingly concerned about the threat “lone wolves” pose to domestic targets, also injured three people, including a sailor who was critically wounded.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the suspect had any contact with militants or militant groups, but at this point have no evidence that he did, the source told Reuters.

US law enforcement officials said they were investigating whether he was inspired by Islamic State or a similar group.

Islamic State had threatened to step up violence in the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which ends on Friday evening.

At a news conference late Thursday, Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge of the FBI's Knoxville, Tennessee, division, said investigators had found nothing that tied the suspect to an international terrorist organisation.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist groups, said that Abdulazeez blogged on Monday that "life is short and bitter" and Muslims should not miss an opportunity to "submit to Allah”." Reuters could not independently verify the blog postings.

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