US authorities have embarked on an investigation into an attempted attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. Two gunmen were killed outside the venue, one identified by media as a one-time terror suspect.
Police investigated into Monday morning after officers shot dead two men who opened fire on a security guard outside an exhibition of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
While commentators swiftly drew parallels with the January shootings at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, US authorities said they were still ascertaining the reason for the attack.
The two men drove up to the conference center in the city of Garland, near Dallas, and began shooting at a security guard, police said Sunday. Officials said the shootout lasted a matter of seconds.
"Garland Police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed," the city of Garland said in a statement.
'Plans to travel to Africa'
An ABC news network affiliate identified one of two gunmen shot dead in the attack. Phoenix's KPHO TV said Elton Simpson of Arizona had been the target of a previous terror investigation and that FBI agents and bomb experts were searching his Phoenix home.
Simpson had been convicted five years ago of lying to federal agents about plans to travel to Africa in an apparent attempt to join a terror group, the report said.
KPHO TV said the second man lived in the same apartment complex as Simpson, the Autumn Ridge Apartments. While the second man was not identified, his home was also said to have been searched.
FBI spokesman Perryn Collier on Monday confirmed that a Phoenix residence was being searched for indications of what prompted the shooting.
Monitors point to IS link
Meanwhile, terror monitoring group SITE claimed that a known member of the "Islamic State" (IS) jihadist group had boasted that the attack was carried out by IS supporters.
In a series of tweets, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani claimed that "2 of our brothers just opened fire" at the exhibition. SITE claims that tweeter was a British IS fighter, Junaid Hussain.
The event in Garland was being staged by the right-wing American Freedom Defense Initiative (ADFI) and was attended by the controversial far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
rc/jil (Reuters, AP, AFP)