Washington: Minutes before two gunmen were shot dead by police at Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, 31-year-old Elton Simpson had posted a tweet hinting about possible attack and had used the hashtag #texasattack.
He had reportedly tweeted, “May Allah accept us as mujahideen," or holy warriors and among the hashtags used by the account was "#texasattack", the AP reported.
Simpson, along with another gunmen Nadir Soofi, was shot dead by police as they tried to storm the cartoon drawing event on Sunday.
While the Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility of the attack, the authorities are yet to confirm the link.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the shooting, but counterterrorism experts said IS has a history of asserting involvement in attacks in which it had no operational role.
Federal authorities confirm the Twitter account belonged to 31-year-old Elton Simpson of Phoenix who, with another gunman, opened fire Sunday in the Dallas suburb of Garland, said Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who was briefed on the investigation by federal law enforcement officials.
McCaul said the Twitter account linked to Simpson included images of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen. But the Texas congressman stopped short of saying law enforcement had missed a red flag.
"Was he on the radar? Sure he was," McCaul said from Turkey, where he was leading a congressional delegation. "The FBI has got a pretty good program to monitor public social media."
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a joint intelligence bulletin to local law enforcement on April 20 warning that the Garland event was a possible target for a terrorist attack, according to a DHS official who was not authorized to be quoted discussing the document.
It's unclear why Simpson and his roommate, Nadir Soofi, were not stopped. A security guard was wounded in the leg before the gunmen were killed at the scene.
(With Agency Inputs)