Leading terror expert Rita Katz reported earlier this week that ISIS repeatedly claimed responsibility for the Mandalay Bay Las Vegas attack that left 58 Americans dead and over 500 more injured.
ISIS tripled down on the claim later in the week in their al-Nabu weekly newsletter.
On Saturday The SITE Institute blog posted more on these ISIS claims.
SITE Institute believes ISIS has much to lose if they are lying about the Las Vegas attacks.
Investigators have as of yet found no link between Paddock and ISIS, but just as notably, they have also not found any motive at all. As Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said (albeit vaguely): “[Paddock] may may have been radicalised, unbeknownst to us, and we want to identify that source.”
However, it must likewise be noted that ISIS is facing significant losses in Iraq and Syria, and may have seen value in capitalizing on an attack it didn’t commit to salvage morale amongst members and supporters.
Thus, as more and more questions arise about Paddock, we must carefully and skeptically consider all possible scenarios.
Monday morning, ISIS’ ‘Amaq News Agency reported on one of its accounts that that Paddock was a “soldier” with the group. When my staff and I first saw the post, we hesitated, asking each other if ISIS’ account had been hacked. But as other ISIS channels, began posting the message, it was clear that this claim was coming from the group, so we reported on it.
Less than 10 minutes later, ‘Amaq issued a follow-up message—a rarity for the media agency—appearing to address the widespread skepticism of its claim by stating that the attacker “had converted to Islam several months ago.”
There is still no known motive for Stephen Paddock’s deadly massacre in Las Vegas.
ISIS must release more information if they expect to retain any credibility.
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) October 6, 2017
Time will tell.