FBI: Killers were 'radicalised,' took target practice

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San Bernardino (US), Dec 8: The husband and wife who carried out the San Bernardino shootings had been radicalised and had taken part in target practice, once within days of the attack that killed 14 people, the FBI has said.

"We believe both were radicalised and had been for some time," said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office. But the said investigators are still trying to establish when, where and by whom they were influenced.

California shooters

He also said Syed Farook, 28, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, had taken target practice at ranges within the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with one session held within days of last week's rampage.

In addition, authorities found 19 pipes in the couple's home that could be turned into bombs, Bowdich said. The couple opened fire with assault rifles Wednesday on a holiday luncheon for Farook's colleagues. Husband and wife were killed hours later in a shootout with police.

President Barack Obama said in a prime-time address Sunday night that the attack was an "act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people." While there was no evidence the shooters were directed by a terror network overseas or were part of a broader plot, "the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalisation," he said.

Farook's estranged father, also named Syed Farook, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that his son shared the ideology of the Islamic State group and was fixated on Israel. Malik attended a religious school in the Pakistani city of Multan briefly between 2013 and 2014 but didn't receive a diploma, Farhat Hashmi, founder of Al-Huda International Seminary, said in a statement on her website.

The school is a women-only madrassa with locations across Pakistan and in the US and Canada. Hashmi has been criticised for promoting a conservative strain of Islam. She said the organisation was not political and denounced violence and acts of terrorism.

"It seems that she was unable to understand the beautiful message of the Quran," Hashmi's statement said, referring to Malik. 

AP

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