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The group calling itself the Islamic State claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon-drawing contest near Dallas.
The extremist group released an audio recording on their Syria-based radio station that said the “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the May 3 attack in Garland, Texas, the Associated Press reported.
“We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you,” the recording said.
AP adds that this is the first time the Islamic State has claimed links to an attack in the United States.
The statement has yet to be independently verified. It also remains unclear how the group made contact with the two suspects, 30-year-old Elton Simpson and 34-year-old Nadir Soofi, who were killed by police after opening fire on a security guard at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center, where the cartoon contest was held.
Simpson, who shared a Phoenix apartment with Soofi, was identified in 2011 as a jihadist terrorism suspect, The New York Times reported.
The “Draw Muhammad” contest offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet. It was also sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be an “active anti-Muslim group.”
As the Washington Post, among others, have pointed out, Pamela Geller, the group’s executive director, has organized several anti-Muslim campaigns for years, including the recent “Killing Jews is Worship” posters that can be seen on New York buses.
Joshua Barajas is the arts editor for the NewsHour. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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