Bomb Failure Derailed San Bernardino Terror Plans

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

FBI officials revealed this week that technical difficulties with a bomb placed at site of the December 2 Islamic terror attack delayed the two terrorists from leaving the San Bernardino area.

One of two FBI officials speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that failure of the Inland Regional Center bomb kept Islamic terror attackers Syed Rizwan Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik driving around San Bernardino, California after killing 14 and injuring 22.

The two apparently attempted to detonate the remote-controlled explosive after fleeing the scene of the murders. The FBI officials spoke after having been briefed on the investigation.

The AP reported:

Investigators believe the couple intended to detonate the improvised explosive device — placed in a bag left at the center that morning by Farook before the shooting — to kill emergency responders or possibly before their attack.

The plan to set off an explosive device as part of a wave of attacks is similar to an aborted 2012 plan by Farook and his longtime friend Enrique Marquez, who has been charged for his role in aiding the violence. The pair planned to explode pipe bombs on a freeway and then shoot emergency responders.

The device found at the scene in San Bernardino consisted of three pipe bombs, constructed with Christmas tree lights and attached to a remote-control toy car switched to “on.” The couple had the remote with them in their rented SUV. It was found after the shootout.

Marquez was a convert to Islam and friend of Farook. Marquez has also been charged regarding a sham marriage to one of Farook’s family members.

The report also recalled 18 minutes missing in Farook and Malik’s day between the attacks and the shootout that lead to their deaths. Officials have tracked the Islamic terrorist couple’s whereabouts following the attacks with the exception of that small window of time from 12:59 p.m. to 1:17 p.m.

The AP also reported:

One of the officials said the hard drive has still not been found, and the two cellphones, which were sent to the FBI lab, were so badly crushed that investigators have not yet been able to conduct a forensic examination on them.

A rifle used in the attacks was also poorly modified. Unused bombs were found at Farook and Malik’s apartment. The FBI is still trying to figure out if the two had accomplices in their terror plot and have questioned whether they could have met with an accomplice during the mystery 18-minute period. Marquez has been charged with providing the couple with two of the weapons used in the attack.

Farook’s mosque, Dar Al Uloom Islamiyah, is of the fundamentalist Tablighi Jamaat sect known in some circles as the “Army of Darkness.” Members of the mosque have attempted to distance themselves from Farook, but one cleric allegedly had regular communication with Farook. Mosque leaders have refused to answer questions regarding whether the FBI was looking into other members as part of their investigation into the terror attacks.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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