Counterterrorism investigators are looking closely at a trip to Jordan in 2014 by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, the 24-year-old shooter who conducted two attacks on Thursday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The investigation will try to determine whether the shooter had contact with any extremists or traveled to other countries from Jordan, people familiar with the investigation told the newspaper.
Abdulazeez spent about seven months in Jordan last year, according to one person close to the investigation. The visit was one of a number of trips he took to that country during his life. He also held Jordanian citizenship, officials said.
Abdulazeez died in a gunfight with police, shortly after firing a rifle at two military facilities in Chattanooga. Four Marines were killed in the attacks.
Law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are now trying to determine if he made connections, or drew inspiration, on that trip to later commit an act of violence once he returned to the U.S., these people said.
The FBI has been tracking hundreds of suspected supporters of the terror group Islamic State (ISIS), but Abdulazeez wasn’t on their radar as a potential threat, according to people familiar with the probe.
FBI officials on Thursday night said they don't have "anything that directly ties" the attacker Abdulazeez to any foreign terrorist organizations, although experts have said his behavior fits the mold of attacks Islamic State (ISIS) has called for.
Officials are also examining two blog posts apparently written on Monday to see if they were written by the suspect, according to The Wall Street Journal. Even if he did write them, according to people close to the investigation, there is nothing suggestive of violence in the posts, and they don’t offer a motive for attacking U.S. military sites.
“Brothers and sisters don’t be fooled by your desires, this life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by,’’ one post said.
It was previously revealed on Friday that Abdulazeez's father was investigated several years ago for donating money to an organization possibly connected to a foreign terrorist organization.
The father was on a terrorist watch list and even questioned during a trip out of the country, but eventually his name was taken off the terrorist list.
The attack on an army site brings to mind the 2009 shooting attack at the Fort Hood army base, when Palestinian American Army Major Nidal Hasan unleashed a deadly shooting rampage, murdering 13 and wounding 32. Hasan admitted to conducted the shooting as an Islamist terror attack.
The same base was targeted again in April 2014, with the shooter and three victims killed as well as 14 wounded.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)