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ISIS Claims Responsibility for the Deadliest Mass Shooting in US History, Saying Shooter, Stephen Paddock Converted to Islam Months Ago

by Farzeen Hafeez

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Las Vegas shooting at the Country Music Festival yesterday night.

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The deadliest mass shooting in American history has 58 people dead and over 500 injured, so far.

Las Vegas Shooting

People take cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gunfire was heard. (Source: Getty Images)

Although, ISIS did not name Stephen Paddock, the man identified as the shooter by the police, the group claims he converted to Islam months ago.

“The Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to appeals targeting coalition countries”, it said.

“The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam several months ago.”

The claim was prefaced with the phrase “a security source to Amaq Agency” – a phrase frequently used after attacks that were not directed by ISIS.

Las Vegas Shooting

Police officers stop a man who drove down Tropicana Ave. near Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave, which had been closed after a mass shooting (Source: Getty Images)

ISIS’ claim came days after it released a speech purporting to be from the group’s leader.

A 46-minute audio recording appeared to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, praise the jihadis killed in the battle to retake Mosul and other former ISIS territories.

Where, he urged followers to “intensify one attack after another against the infidels”, following a spike in global terror attacks.

So far, ISIS has released several rounds of detailed guidance on how to carry out mass casualty terror attacks, including ways to obtain guns.

Las Vegas Shooting

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after the mass shooting. (Source: Getty Images)

An issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Al-Naba released in May said it was very simple to obtain firearms in the US.

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The same issue named concert halls and entertainment venues among target locations because of the density of contained crowds, citing the “blessed” massacres at the Bataclan during the Paris attacks and Omar Mateen’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as “outstanding” examples.

However, the claim could not be verified and the shooter’s conversion to Islam has not been confirmed.

Las Vegas Shooting

An ambulance leaves the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave. (Source: Getty Images)

In a brief statement, FBI special agent Aaron Rouse said the bureau had determined to this point no connection of an international terrorist group to the Las Vegas shooting.

Even though, ISIS claimed a “soldier of the Islamic State” was behind the killing, Mr Rouse, a former counterintelligence chief and the lead agent in charge of the Las Vegas district, has dismissed this claim, saying there was no evidence of any link to the Islamist group.

He added: “As this investigation continues, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that this is factually, thoroughly and absolutely investigated to be able to bring comfort and peace back to this community.”

Las Vegas Shooting

Stephen Paddock, the shooter at the Country Music Festival, Las Vegas. (Source: DailyMail)

The skepticism was also sparked by Paddock’s brother’s statement. He said he was not an avid gun guy at all, with no ‘religious or political affiliation’ or history of mental illness.

Eric Paddock told CBS his brother was a gambler, saying: “The fact that he had those kinds of weapons is just…where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that.”

“He’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas.”

The CIA also seems unamused by the idea of the extremist group’s link to the Las Vegas shooting and advises not to “jump to conclusions”. Agency spokesman Jonathan Liu said people shouldn’t rush to judgment “before the facts are in”.

Las Vegas Shooting

An injured person is tended to in the intersection of Tropicana Ave. and Las Vegas Boulevard after a mass shooting at the country music festival. (Source: Getty Images)

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The probe quickly moved from Las Vegas’ famous strip of hotels and casinos to a retirement home in the small desert town of Mesquite.

Heavily armed police were searching the single-family home where 64-year-old Paddock lived with 62-year-old Australian woman, Marilou Danley, who police said was not involved in the attack.

Paddock is believed to have killed himself before a police Swat team burst into his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Where, the police found at least 10 rifles!

Las Vegas Shooting

Police officers point their weapons at a car driving down closed Tropicana Ave. near Las Vegas Boulevard. (Source: Getty Images)

Although, the Sheriff of Las Vegas considers Danley a person of interest. He said: “We have been in contact with her and we plan to engage her upon her return to the country.”

Sheriff Lombardo also said that it is believed Paddock used a hammer to break the windows in his 32nd floor room, in order to use the guns he had.

There is hours of footage that Mr. Lombardo says police will be working with the Mandalay Bay hotel to look at, while it is believed that housekeeping went in and out of the room without anything untoward being spotted.

Las Vegas Shooting

A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival. (Source: Getty Images)

US President, Donald Trump and the First Lady will lead a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn to honor the victims of the Las Vegas shooting at 2.45pm, local time.

President Trump also spoke with British Prime Minister, Theresa May about the shooting. The White House reports Theresa May conveyed her condolences after more than 50 people were killed and over five-hundred injured at the Country Music Festival.

The White House says the President thanked Miss May and praised the first responders who responded to the Las Vegas shooting.

Las Vegas Shooting

A man lays on top of a woman as others flee the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds. (Source: Getty Images)

Security officials have long warned that ISIS will seek to maintain momentum and legitimacy through terror as its so-called“caliphate” dwindles in Iraq and Syria.

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