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Counter-terror Analyst: ISIS claims Vegas shooter was 'soldier' far from ridiculous

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9news.com.au

 
However unlikely it may seem, the idea that 64-year-old white shooter Stephen Craig Paddock was acting on behalf of ISIS when shooting dead 59 victims cannot be ruled out.

That is the considered view of Michael S. Smith II, a US counter-terror analyst who closely monitors Islamic State and the group's claims of responsibility for acts of terror around the globe.

US investigators are now sifting through evidence in a fast-moving operation that could reveal the as-yet unclear motives of Paddock.

Paddock, a retiree from Mesquite, Nevada, mercilessly killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others from a sniping position inside his 32nd floor Las Vegas hotel room.

Police on Tuesday recovered 19 firearms, explosives and several thousand rounds of ammo at Paddock's home in Mesquite.
 
 A police SWAT team earlier found 23 high-powered weapons inside Paddock's Mandalay Bay hotel room.

In the hours after Paddock turned his gun on himself, Islamic State claimed the mass murderer as one of its "soldiers".
 
 Through its propaganda arm Amaq News Agency, the ISIS-linked statement continued that Paddock had "converted to Islam several months ago".

Both the FBI and Paddock's family have refuted that claim.

Speaking to reporters outside his Orlando home, Eric Paddock said ISIS "were full of sh-t". Eric Paddock stated, as far as he knew, his dead brother had no religious or political affiliations.

Paddock's supposed conversion to Islam has not been confirmed.