IS link uncovered in California shooting: reports

San Bernardino (United States) (AFP) - The female assailant in California's mass shooting had pledged allegiance to the head of the Islamic State group on Facebook, reports said Friday, as the attackers' home was thrown open to the public.

The development comes two days after the carnage at a year-end office party in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 21 others wounded -- the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the Newtown school massacre in 2012.

US media, quoting law enforcement officials, said while there was no evidence that IS directed Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Farook to carry out the attack on a party held by Farook's employer, the county health department, it appears the pair were inspired by the group.

"At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting," one official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the FBI had taken charge of the investigation "because of the possibility this is a terrorist attack."

One US official familiar with the investigation said Malik, had posted her allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook under an account with a different name during the attack, CNN reported. MSNBC quoted another official saying the message was posted "just before the attack."

The post has since been deleted from Facebook, the Times said.

- 'Mind-boggling' -

Farook, 28, and Malik, 27, were killed Wednesday in a wild firefight with police hours after the attack -- and relatives were at a loss to explain how the couple who had a baby girl and seemed to be living the "American dream" could have committed mass murder.

"I can never imagine my brother or my sister-in-law doing something like this. Especially because they were happily married, they had a beautiful six-month-old daughter," Farook's sister Saira Khan told CBS News.

"It's just mind-boggling why they would do something like this."

One of Farook's colleagues said he was convinced Malik, who is Pakistani, had radicalized her husband after they met online and married in Saudi Arabia last year.

"I think he married a terrorist," Christian Nwadike told CBS News. "He was set up through that marriage."

There were reports that Farook may have snapped at his office party following a religious discussion that got out of hand.

One witness said he suddenly stormed out of the event, leaving his jacket on his seat, and returned a short while later armed to the teeth and dressed in black military-style gear and a mask, accompanied by his wife.

An explosive device was later found at the scene of the shooting, but failed to go off.

- Combing through evidence -

The landlord of the couple's rented townhouse on Friday opened their home up to reporters and the public who flooded in taking pictures and videos in a surreal scene.

A scrum of journalists flooded into the apartment, filming and snapping pictures of the family's possessions.

Children's toys could be seen inside the home along with passports, pictures and letters scattered on one bed.

It was not immediately clear if the apartment was still considered an active crime scene.

Investigators had found thousands of rounds of ammunition at the home, as well as a bomb-making laboratory and 12 pipe bombs.

"There was obviously a mission here," said David Bowdich, the assistant FBI director in charge of the Los Angeles office.

"We don't know if this was the intended target or if there was something that triggered him to do this immediately."

- 'Not afraid' -

One lawyer for the couple's family said links between Farook and potential terror suspects were "tenuous" at best.

"We've met with the FBI and, you know, someone has alluded to the fact that they found something on his computer," one lawyer, David Chesley, told CNN.

"He may have talked to somebody who talked to -- or spoken with somebody on the computer who viewed something about ISIS, but it's like, it's so tenuous, there's nothing really there."

Authorities identified the couple's victims as six women and eight men ranging in age from 26 to 60. All but two were county employees and colleagues of Farook.

Up to 3,000 people attended a vigil Thursday evening in honor of the victims, lighting candles and listening to memorial speeches.

"This is a tragedy but we must show that we are not afraid," said Dorothy Andrews, 74, who was among those who turned out at the city's San Manuel Stadium.

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