ISIS Group Puts Crosshairs on Vegas Hotel in Threat to Shed 'Dirty Blood'
An ISIS-supporting media group threatened another Vegas-style massacre in a new propaganda image, yet zeroed in on a Strip hotel other than the Mandalay Bay.
"The disbeliever west will see our power through the jihad of sincere people and the sacrifice of monotheists. We will be generous in shedding your dirty blood unless you embrace Islam or give the jizyah," states the message, referencing a tax paid by non-Muslims. "However, Las Vegas' massacre is not far from you."
The poster distributed online includes a shadowy backdrop of masked jihadists carrying an ISIS flag, hovering over a photo from the Vegas strip. The words "Las Vegas," crosshairs and flames are positioned over the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
The threat was distributed by the Wafa' Media Foundation, which released numerous threats during the holiday season.
A November poster showed smoke rising from Rome with a fighter jet overhead and a jihadist standing next to the sort of makeshift armored vehicle ISIS uses for suicide bombings in Iraq and Syria. "The date is approaching o worshippers of the cross," stated the message on the image.
Wafa' released a Vatican "wolf" image, with a backpack, rocket-propelled grenade and rifle at the jihadist's side as storm clouds gathered over a twilight St. Peter's Square. In a message to fellow jihadists, the group noted that "the crusaders' feast is approaching."
In another instance, Wafa' circulated a poster depicting a vehicle moving toward the Vatican with a cache of weapons, vowing "Christmas blood."
Official ISIS media has persisted in claiming responsibility for the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Vegas, though those claims have grown quieter in recent weeks.
ISIS featured an update on the shooting investigation in a mid-October issue of their al-Naba newsletter, referring to Stephen Paddock both by that name and the nom de guerre Abu Abdul Bar al-Amriki, which they bestowed upon the killer the day after the attack.
Much of that update focused on how Las Vegas authorities were unprepared for the nature of the attack. "This highlights the difficulties faced by U.S. cities to protect their own Crusader citizens from attacks that can take unpredictable forms," the newsletter said, emphasizing Paddock's elevated firing position from the 32nd floor and quoting police about their inability to stop the sniper from ground level.
In an earlier issue of al-Naba, ISIS printed a full-page infographic on the shooting with a Mandalay Bay hotel covered in blood, claiming that Paddock had converted to Islam six months before.
Quickly after the massacre in which Paddock killed 58 people, ISIS claimed through their Amaq news agency that the "Las Vegas attacker is a soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting coalition countries." ISIS' official Nashir channel and affiliated al-Batar Media Foundation also insisted Paddock acted on behalf of the terror group.
A month ago, an ISIS video featuring attack encouragement from a one-legged American jihadist ended with a montage of terror scenes, including Fox News footage of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre that ISIS still claims despite law enforcement saying they've found no extremist links.
Last week, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released a preliminary 81-page report on the mass shooting investigation. They found that from October 2016 through September 2017 Paddock purchased more than 55 firearms. He was booked at The Ogden, a condominium complex with rental units in downtown Las Vegas, from Sept. 17 through Sept. 28, overlapping with the Life is Beautiful music festival in the streets below held from Sept. 22-24.
"While staying at The Ogden, Paddock exhibited behavior which was similar to his time spent at Mandalay Bay. Paddock left for long periods of time, returning to Mesquite, Nevada, flying to Reno, Nevada and traveling to Arizona," the report stated. "Paddock was observed numerous times gambling at downtown Las Vegas casinos. Paddock was also observed moving numerous suitcases from his vehicle to the various units he rented." Investigators have been "unable to determine if Paddock intended an attack during this festival or if he
used it as a means to plan a future attack."
Paddock, a former IRS agent and auditor for Lockheed Martin and Boeing, checked into his Mandalay Bay suite on Sept. 25, with a scheduled check-out date of Oct. 2. On Sept. 29, he also checked into the connecting room next door.
His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, told investigators that Paddock had become distant over the past year and they no longer had an intimate relationship. She also described him as having a germ phobia. "During a stay at the Mandalay Bay in the beginning of September 2017, Danley recalled Paddock behaving strangely. The two were staying in room 60-235 and she observed Paddock constantly looking out the windows of the room which overlooked the Las Vegas Village venue. Paddock would move from window to window looking at the site from different angles."
The shooter's doctor said that "he believed Paddock may have had bipolar disorder," the report noted, "however, Paddock did not want to discuss that topic further with him."
Paddock was "known to gamble tens of thousands of dollars at a time and played at numerous casinos." However, he "was indebted to no one and in fact paid all his gambling debts off prior to the shooting."
The report concluded that Paddock acted alone, with no suicide note or manifesto found, and "no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations."
"Despite numerous interviews with Paddock’s family, acquaintances and gambling contacts, investigators could not link Paddock to any specific ideology... Reference the 1,965 investigated leads, 21,560 hours of video, 251,099 images obtained and 746 legal notices filed or sent, nothing was found to indicate motive on the part of Paddock or that he acted with anyone else."