The FBI is pushing back against claims by the Islamic State that the gunman who shot and killed at least 58 people in Las Vegas on Sunday night was affiliated with the radical terrorist organization, claiming that no evidence exists to support that claim.
“It seems like they’re desperate for attention and will claim just about everything,” Colin Clarke, a political scientist and terrorism expert for the Rand Corp. think tank, told CNBC. “They’ve lost so much territory and they fear they’re becoming irrelevant.”
ISIS first took responsibility for the deadly shooting via the Amaq News Agency, an outlet linked to the terrorist group. No evidence was provided to support the claim.
“The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a solider of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition,” the outlet said.
Now, the FBI is flat-out debunking the assertion.
“We have determined to this point no connection with any international terror group,” said Aaron Rouse. special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Las Vegas. The agency will “continue to investigate.”
ISIS has been on the retreat since losing its hold on Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Since then, it has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks throughout the world that were later proven to have had no connection with the Islamic State.
“We’ve seen them over the last year, as they start to lose territory, in Raqqa and Mosul, turn more and more towards internet radicalization, trying to claim credit for lone wolf attacks,” said Jasmine El-Gamal, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council foreign policy think tank. “So it’s completely unsurprising to me that they try to claim credit for this, but there’s no proof of it so far.”