One of the shooters at the Texas Muhammad cartoon contest Sunday was reportedly in contact with Islamic extremists, including members of the Islamic State, less than two weeks before the terrorist attack occurred.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Elton Simpson, one of the shooters who was fatally shot himself by a police officer Sunday, routinely called for violence on social media with ISIS fighters and sympathizers. This included his ultimate target, Pamela Geller, the organizer of the “Draw the Prophet” event.
A convert to Islam, Simpson had contact with Junaid Hussain, a British ISIS fighter who was known in Syria as Abu Hussain al-Britani, and Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, a Somali-American residing in Somalia who is constantly promoting ISIS.
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According to The Times, Hassan linked the forthcoming attack in Garland, Texas, with the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year:
On April 23, 10 days before the Texas attack, Mr. Hassan linked to the planned cartoon event in Texas, praised the January shootings at a satirical newspaper in Paris and called on jihadists in the United States to follow that example.
‘The brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack did their part,’ Mr. Hassan wrote in the post. ‘It’s time for brothers in the #US to do their part.’
Later the same day, Mr. Simpson posted about the cartoon contest, using the handle Shariah is Light: ‘When will they ever learn. They are planning on selecting the best picture drawn of Rasulullah (saws) in Texas.’ Rasulullah (saws) is a respectful phrase for the prophet.
ISIS did not claim responsibility for the attack, though they called Simpson and the other gunman, Hamid Soofi, “two soldiers from the soldiers of the caliphate.”
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