President Obama has insisted that the US "will not be terrorized" and renewed calls for tighter gun control laws. His address followed an "Islamic State" claim that it inspired the deadly San Bernardino shooting.
US President Barack Obama promised Saturday that federal investigators would "get to the bottom" of how and why a devoutly religious husband and wife went on a shooting rampage in southern California, killing 14 people.
The self-styled "Islamic State," which controls territory in Iraq and Syria and preaches an extreme form of violent Islam, claimed on Saturday that the couple implicated in the killings, US-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29, were followers of the jihadi movement.
The two died after their rampage in a shootout with police in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
"Two followers of Islamic State attacked several days ago a center in San Bernardino in California," the group's daily online radio broadcast al-Bayan said Saturday.
The US president said investigators are pursuing possible links to Middle Eastern jihadis.
"It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror," Obama said.
But federal investigators said agents believe the killers may have been inspired by the jihadi group but were not working under its orders. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey said evidence pointed to "radicalization of the killers and of potential inspiration" by a foreign militant group.
But no evidence has been uncovered yet suggesting the killers were "part of an organized larger group or form part of a cell," Comey said Friday. "There is no indication that they are part of a network."
Obama calls for stricter gun control
Authorities say they recovered two assault-style rifles, two semi-automatic handguns, 6,100 rounds of ammunition and 12 pipe bombs in the couple's home.
In his speech, Obama leveled much of the blame for the killings on the country's lax gun laws that allow civilians to buy high-powered rifles and pistols with little oversight or regulation.
"We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons - weapons of war - to kill as many people as they could," he said. "It's another tragic reminder that here in America it's way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun."
The two semi-automatic rifles and pistols and thousands of rounds of ammunition recovered from the dead couple were legally purchased, authorities said.
CNN and other news media outlets reported the Facebook posts on Malik's page included a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
FBI officials said mounting signs of advanced preparations - such as the veritable arsenal and cache of ammunition - showed there was considerable advance planning before the couple targeted a holiday party for county workers being held at a social services center.
"Based on the information and the facts as we know them, we are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism," David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles field office told reporters.
In his remarks, Obama also pointed out that suspected terrorists placed on a federal list designed to prevent hijackings are still free to purchase firearms.
"Right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane," Obama said. "If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun."
jar/sms (Reuters, AFP)