US Marines’ Killer ‘Sent War Text’ Before Shooting

A report claimed the night before a gunman killed five US service personnel in Tennessee, he sent a text message linking to a religious verse about “declaring war”.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez also spoke out against conflicts in the Middle East, according to the Reuters agency.

Police have said his motives are still being investigated. Four US Marines were killed in the shooting. A sailor who was seriously injured died in hospital on Saturday.

Logistics specialist Randall Smith had been fighting for his life since the attack.

Abdulazeez was himself later killed in a shootout with the police. Reuters says it has seen a text sent the night before to a friend linking to a passage of Islamic text – Hadith 38 – containing the verse: “Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I will indeed declare war against him.”

The friend, who requested anonymity, said he thought nothing of the text at the time, but now wonders if it was a hint at the attack to come.

Full text of Hadith 38: Allah the Almighty has said: “Whosoever acts with enmity towards a friend [wali] of Mine, I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) prayers so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it”.

Other friends also told Reuters that Abdulazeez spoke of his anger about conflicts in the Middle East, including Israeli bombing campaigns in Gaza and the civil war in Syria, after returning from a trip to Jordan last year.

“He had always talked about it, but I’d say his level of understanding and awareness really rose after he came back,” said one of the friends interviewed.

They said he had purchased three guns online following the visit, and used them for target practice.

“It would be premature to speculate on exactly why the shooter did what he did,” FBI agent Ed Reinhold said.

“However, we are conducting a thorough investigation to determine whether this person acted alone or was inspired or directed.”

Abdulazeez began Thursday’s attack with a shooting spree at a recruitment centre in Chattanooga. He then drove about six miles (10km) to a Navy and Marine reserve centre, where he shot and killed the marines, and wounded Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Smith.

“A male Navy Petty Officer succumbed to wounds received in the July 16 shooting at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee” on Saturday at 02:17 local time (06:17 GMT), the US Navy said in a statement.

It did not name the sailor, but family members confirmed it was Randall Smith. A relative told the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes that Smith was married with three young daughters.


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