Counterterrorism experts are stating that the ISIS claims for responsibility for the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday are another sign that the terror group is growing increasingly desperate to remain relevant as they lose their “caliphates” in Syria and Iraq.
One former Department of Homeland Security official, Peter Vincent stated to media sources that by making such false claims that ISIS is becoming “somewhat of a joke among the terrorist elite.”
ISIS claimed Monday that Stephen Craig Paddock — who Las Vegas police say killed 58 people, in addition to himself, and injured at least 500 others — was a “soldier of the Islamic State” but gave no evidence to back up its claim.
Citing a “security source,” the group’s media arm, Amaq, said Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, carried out the attack “in response to calls to target coalition countries.” Unusually, ISIS doubled down on the claim, releasing a second statement claiming Paddock had recently converted to Islam and identified him as “Abu Abd El Bar.”
The FBI quickly dismissed ISIS’s claims, saying at this stage there was no evidence Paddock had no connection to any international terrorist group.
While some terror experts are arguing that this latest claim by ISIS for responsibility has undermined its credibility, still others are arguing that the opposite is true. Shiraz Maher, deputy director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London said that this move by the Islamic State was a disinformation operation to spread panic, hinder the on-going investigation and to help recruit new operatives.
Stating that this latest ISIS move is a form of psychological warfare, Maher stated that “In a sense it doesn’t matter if ISIS lies about this — their supporters will see it as a victory,” he said. He also brought up the valid point that any follower of ISIS would never believe the FBI’s statement anyway, so the terrorist world will see this as a victory.
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