ISIS terrorists took responsibility Saturday for the horrific shooting at a California office holiday party, which left 14 people dead.
The Islamic State said the murderous couple — U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his spouse, Tashfeen Malik, 29, a native of Pakistan — were followers of the Syria- and Iraq-based terror network.
The couple stormed San Bernardino’s Inland Regional Center Wednesday andopened fire on a group of county health department workers hosting a holiday party inside the facility. Farook, a five-year department veteran, attended the soiree briefly before leaving and returning with his wife and four guns.
Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with cops hours later.
Malik — who apparently pledged her allegiance to ISIS on Facebook just moments before the killing —became a more zealous follower of the Muslim faith about three years ago, trading in her old Western clothes for an all-covering burqa, her Pakistani family said.
“I recently heard it from relatives that she has become a religious person and she often tells people to live according to the teachings of Islam,” said Hifza Batool, Malik’s step-aunt and a private school teacher who lives in Karor Lal Esam, about 280 miles southwest of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
U.S. government sources said the killer couple may have been inspired by the Islamic State, but there was no evidence the attack was directed by the militant group or that the organization even knew who they were.
If Wednesday’s mass shooting proves to have been the work of people inspired by Islamist militants, as investigators now suspect, it would mark the deadliest such attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.
“Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernadino in California,” ISIS said in its daily online radio broadcast Saturday.
The broadcast came a day after Facebook confirmed Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS on the social network just minutes before the Wednesday shooting spree. The killer used an alias and it’s unclear if she posted the message herself or if someone else published it on her behalf.
“I know it was in a general timeline where that post was made, and yes, there was a pledge of allegiance,” David Bowdich, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles office, told a news conference about a reported loyalty pledge posted on Facebook by Malik on the day of the attack.
A Facebook spokesman said the profile in question was removed by the company on Thursday for violating its community standards barring promotion or praise for “acts of terror.” He declined to elaborate on the material.
FBI officials said mounting signs of advanced preparations, the large cache of armaments amassed by the couple and evidence that they “attempted to destroy their digital fingerprints” helped tip the balance of the investigation.