GARLAND, Texas (Christian Examiner) – The Islamic State (ISIS) has issued another claim of responsibility for the May 3 attack on a free speech event in Garland, Texas, and claimed, this time in a social media posting, that more attacks will follow.
The new warning comes days after the release of an audio statement on ISIS's official radio station, Al Bayan. In the first claim of responsibility, the terror group called the gunmen killed by police in Garland "two soldiers of the soldiers of the caliphate."
Both gunmen were killed immediately after they opened fire at the event, but the new warning from ISIS claims the attack was intended only to probe the police response to an attack and to demonstrate "how easy we give our lives for the sake of Allah."
"The disbelievers who shot our brothers think that you killed someone untrained; nay, they gave you their bodies in plain view because we were watching," the statement said. "We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday."
The warning named five of the 15 states as Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California and Michigan.
The FBI is investigating the claim that the two gunmen in Garland were connected to ISIS. Sources familiar with the investigation cite potential contact between radical jihadists overseas and at least one of the gunmen via email, but the Islamic State's claim may be nothing more than opportunism. ISIS previously has claimed to have carried out attacks actually conducted by its rival Al Qaeda.
The new threat, posted to the anonymous site JustPasteIt, also singles out Pamela Gellar, who organized the event in Garland. Gellar said she held the event and its accompanying Muhammad cartoon contest to illustrate the importance of protecting free speech against threats of Islamic radicalism.
"Our aim was the khanzeer (swine) Pamela Gellar and to show here that we don't care what land she hides in or what sky shields her; we will send all our Lions to achieve her slaughter," the statement said. "To those who protect her: this will be your only warning of housing this woman and her circus show. Everyone who houses her events, gives her a platform to spill her filth are legitimate targets."