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San Bernardino shooter was 'obsessed' with Israel says father

Photo tirée d'une carte d'étudiant de Syed Farook non datée (g), et d'une photo fournie par le FBI de Tashfeen Malik (d), les auteurs de la tuerie de San Bernardino perpétrée lors d'un déjeuner de Noël en Californie , le 2 décembre 2015
- (AFP)
Syed Farook senior tells reporter that his son 'supported the creation of the Islamic State'

The father of San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook told an Italian newspaper that his son was 'obsessed' with Israel and 'supported the creation of the Islamic State'.

"My son said that he shared [IS leader Abu Bakr] Al Baghdadi's ideology and supported the creation of the Islamic State. He was also obsessed with Israel," Syed Farook senior told the Italian daily newspaper, La Stampa on Sunday.

He added that he had once tried to console his son's growing fury by telling him that Israel would not exist within the next two years, the Times of Israel first reported, saying that "China, Russia, and America will bring the Jews back to Ukraine."

"I told him he had to stay calm and be patient because in two years Israel will not exist any more. Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China and America don't want Jews there anymore. They are going to bring the Jews back to Ukraine. What is the point of fighting? We have already done it and we lost. Israel is not to be fought with weapons, but with politics. But he did not listen to me, he was obsessed," the senior Farook told Italian journalist Paolo Mastrolilli, La Stampa's US correspondent.

Syed Farook senior was born in Pakistan and came to the US in 1973. He completing a degree in engineering and says he worked hard to provide his children with "an education and the opportunity to succeed in life."

La Stampa interviewed the father from his home in Corona, California, where he lives with his eldest son Syed Raheel Farook, who is a US Navy Veteran.

Other reports have offered a glimpse into a darker family history. The New York Times reports that according to statements his wife made in 2006 divorce proceedings, the senior Farook "was an alcoholic and could be violent" towards his wife and children.

Farook denied the accusations against him, telling La Stampa, "Rizwan’s mother is very religious, as he was, and they united against me. Once we had a dispute over the historical figure of Jesus. My son called me a godless person and he decided that my marriage with my wife had to end. They destroyed the family.”

Colleagues of the younger Farook, 28, who together with his 29-year old wife carried out the massacre in San Bernandino, told Los Angeles Times reporters that they were 'shocked' to learn of his involvement in the attack which left 14 people dead.

Greg Vojtko (AFP)

They described Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, as a 'normal person' who seemed to be 'living the American dream' and who was well integrated in American society.

The mass shooting in California is being investigated as "an act of terrorism," the FBI said Friday, amid reports the female assailant had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group on Facebook.

In its English-language radio broadcast, the Islamic State group stopped short of explicitly claiming the attack but referred to the assailants as soldiers of the Khilafah (caliphate) who were "killed in the path of Allah."

President Barack Obama insisted that America "will not be terrorized".


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