Islamic State (IS) has said that it was behind the attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in the US state of Texas.
It said that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack at a conference centre near Dallas.
My first thought was to wonder why they would demand credit for such a failure.
My second thought was how stupid am I. That’s exactly what I thought about the embassy bombings, too, and it turned out to be a staggeringly stupid thing to think. The fact that one adventure goes badly means nothing. It sure as hell doesn’t mean that the next one won’t go swimmingly.
Correspondents say that it is believed to be the first time that IS has claimed to have carried out an attack in the US.
“We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter, and that you will see the soldiers of the Islamic State do terrible things,” the statement released by the group said.
I’m sure we will.
The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner offers some analysis.
This is obviously not the first jihadist attack to take place on the US mainland, but if Islamic State is able to prove that it planned and directed it – rather than just staking a claim after the event – then that would be a significant development.
It is also possible that IS’s claim is one of convenience, that it played little or no part in the attack.
In some ways, it was a failure. The attackers did not get near the actual event organisers or speakers and the two gunmen ended up being the only ones killed, shot down not by a SWAT team, but by a traffic policeman.
But that would be to miss the point. For IS, this is all about publicity and the generation of fear. The message they want to give Americans is: “You’re not safe in your own backyard, this was just the beginning and there are more attacks to come”.
And why wouldn’t that be true? Especially in the US, where the citizens are steeped in a culture of violence from birth; where guns are a religion of their own; where religion is almost as popular as violence. How could IS fail to be hugely alluring here, with its throbbing combination of fanatical religion and bloodsoaked violence? Of course IS is going to be able to find thousands of eager volunteers to do the promised “terrible things.”