Monday 11 December 2017

Paddock a 'soldier' who converted to Islam months ago, claims Isil

An Isil fighter pictured in Mosul, Iraq. Stock picture
An Isil fighter pictured in Mosul, Iraq. Stock picture

Bethan McKernan

Isil's news agency Amaq has released a statement claiming that Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas was carried out by a "soldier of the caliphate".

"The Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to appeals targeting coalition countries," a statement from Amaq said yesterday afternoon, followed by a second in which Isil claimed 64-year-old Stephen Paddock had converted to Islam "several months ago".

The claim of responsibility for the bloodshed, which cannot be verified, is an unusual one for Isil.

Paddock is believed to have killed himself before police managed to enter his hotel room - and act which in jihadist teachings, unlike "martyrdom" in battle, is not prized.

A social media profile, which supposedly belonged to the suspect, shows him taking a shot of alcohol, which caused consternation among Islamist extremist sympathisers online.

The suspect's brother Eric Paddock told media he was "dumbfounded" by Sunday's events, not mentioning whether his brother had converted to Islam.

While it is rare for Isil to claim an incident in which it appears to have no direct connection to a suspect, the organisation has made several inflated or demonstrably false claims for incidents around the world as pressure on its crumbling "caliphate" increases.

Senior US officials said they had no reason to believe Isil was linked to the attack.

Irish Independent

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