Cruz: Chattanooga shooting 'an act of war'
© Greg Nash

The shootings at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., constitute an act of war by radical Islamists, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead MORE said Friday.

The Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate linked the killings to a broader extremist campaign against the United States. 


“Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez was there to carry out jihad, an act of radical Islamic terrorism,” he said in a statement.

“An act of war, in which those four brave Marines lost their lives, while at least two others were wounded.”

Four Marines died when Abdulazeez opened fire on Thursday morning at two military facilities in Chattanooga. Abdulazeez, who was a naturalized citizen from Kuwait, died in the second attack.

Cruz said the gunman was not a “lone wolf” attacking American troops at random and said the nation needs to rid itself of “two dangerous delusions” about terrorist threats: “first and foremost that a ‘lone gunman’ — as President Obama described the shooter — is somehow isolated from the larger threat of radical Islamic terrorism."

“In the modern world, no one acts in isolation. Through social media ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria], al Qaeda and other groups are infiltrating our nation with impunity while our government will not even admit that radical Islamic terrorism is a problem.”

Cruz also charged on Friday that the Chattanooga slayings are not independent of earlier attacks on U.S. military installations.

“The second delusion is that this attack is somehow isolated from previous episodes, notably those in Little Rock, Arkansas and Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 – both of which were attacks on American military facilities,” he said.

“We need to see with clarity right now what has happened.”

Reports emerged on Thursday evening that Abdulazeez had blogged about Islam before striking in Chattanooga, though little is known about his motive for the shooting.

He first opened fire at a recruitment center before driving to a U.S. Naval and Marine Corps reserve center. Investigators believe that Abdulazeez and all four of his victims died during shooting at the reserve center.