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The FBI is now officially investigating the California shooting as an 'act of terrorism'

It follows reports earlier that one of the two suspects posted on Facebook pledging allegiance to Islamic State.

8.15pm

THE FBI HAS confirmed tonight it is officially investigating the California mass shooting as an act of terrorism.

fbi

It comes after news emerged earlier today that one of the two suspects in the killing of 14 people in San Bernardino posted on Facebook pledging allegiance to Islamic State as the attack was being launched.

27-year-old Tashfeen Malik and her husband 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook were killed in a shootout with police in the wake of Wednesday’s massacre.

CNN revealed earlier today that Malik had posted a pledge of allegiance to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In a briefing this evening, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office David Bowdich confirmed the attack was being treated as an act of terror.

We have uncovered evidence that has led us to learn of extensive planning.”

There had been some telecoms communications between “at least one of these individuals” and other subjects of the investigation, Bowdich told reporters.

Asked whether the pair had been directed by Isis or another similar organisation or whether they may have simply been inspired by a terror group, he said he didn’t have an answer.

Regarding the reported Facebook post he said it was something the agency was aware of.

“We’re looking into it,” he said.

Asked if he could confirm the post he said “I’m not going to confirm that just yet”.

He said:

“There is a number of pieces of evidence that has essentially pushed us off a cliff to say that we are now investigating this as an act of terrorism.”

Facebook post

Farook and Malik killed 14 people at a Christmas party for Farook’s co-workers. The Muslim couple died hours later in a fierce gunbattle with police.

A Facebook official said today that Malik praised the leader of Islamic State in a post at 11 am on Wednesday, when the couple were believed to have stormed a San Bernardino social service centre and opened fire.

The Facebook official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed under corporate policy to be quoted by name, said the company discovered the account yesterday.

It removed the profile from public view and reported its contents to law enforcement.

Saudi Arabia

Malik, 27, was a Pakistani who grew up in Saudi Arabia and came to the US in 2014 on a fiancée visa. Farook, a 28-year-old restaurant health inspector for the county, was born in Chicago to Pakistani parents and raised in Southern California.

Another US official said Malik expressed “admiration” for the extremist group’s leader on Facebook under the alias account. But the official said there was no sign that anyone affiliated with the Islamic State communicated back with her, and there was no evidence of any operational instructions being conveyed to her.

With reporting from Associated Press. 

Read: US officials say San Bernardino gunman had been in contact with terror suspects >

Read: Secret Service agents didn’t spot four men fishing in Joe Biden’s back garden >

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