US ‘will not be terrorized’, Obama says

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WASHINGTON

The U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday that the United States “will not be terrorized” after an armed attack by a couple left fourteen people dead and dozens injured Wednesday in San Bernadino, California.

Speaking during his weekly address, Obama said the two suspected attackers, Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, might have been radicalized, while adding that the investigators were still working to get a full picture of the shooting.

“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” Obama noted. “And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years — the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies.”

The president encouraged his country to work to help prevent people from becoming self-radicalized, which is considered difficult for the law enforcement to catch.

“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people — around the world and in our country — to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors,” Obama said.

Wearing black masks and armed with assault rifles and handguns, the couple, Farook and Malik, opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino at around 11 a.m. local time (0300GMT), authorities said. A witness said the attackers fired for about 30 seconds before calmly reloading and opening fire again.

The couple were killed in an exchange of fire with police several hours after the initial rampage at the party.

On Friday, officials said the attacks were being investigated as an act of terrorism.

“We are Americans,” Obama said. “We will uphold our values — a free and open society. We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized.”

Later Saturday, Obama was briefed about the ongoing investigation by the FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and his intelligence community leadership, a White House statement said.

Though the team highlighted several pieces of information which points to the perpetrators being radicalized to violence to commit the shooting, “no indications” were yet laid forth that the killers were part of “an organized group or formed part of a broader terrorist cell”.

According to the statement, the FBI, in coordination with local authorities, was utilizing all necessary resources to pursue any and all leads in the terrorism investigation.

The killings marked the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in 2012, in which 26 people were killed, including 20 children.

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