ISIS is claiming responsibility for an attack at a center near Dallas that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. An audio statement on the extremist group's al-Bayan radio station says that "two soldiers of the caliphate" carried out the Sunday night attack; both men, identified yesterday as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were shot dead. The ISIS statement says: "We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you." It did not provide details and it's unclear whether the group is opportunistically claiming the attack as its own. USA Today points out ISIS has never before claimed responsibility for an attack that occurred within the US.
- Simpson's family released a statement last night through their lawyers expressing their heartbreak. NBC News has portions of it: "We are sure many people in this country are curious to know if we had any idea of Elton's plans. Without question, we did not. Just like everyone in our beautiful country, we are struggling to understand how this could happen."
- Another name grabbing headlines in the attack's aftermath: event organizer and vocal critic of Islam Pamela Geller. The event was held in response to a pro-Muslim conference that occurred in Garland in January. Geller told the Washington Post her group was "prepared for violence" (it spent $50,000 on security for the 200-invitee event, which was staffed by 40 armed guards). A subsequent Post article observes that "in tweets immediately after the shooting, Geller appeared almost gleeful that she had been right." How she put it to CNN yesterday: "Civilized men can disagree. Savages will kill you when they disagree."
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