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Islamic state claims Las Vegas shooting, US officials skeptical

US officials said American security agencies were examining the claim of responsibility.

People flee the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Picture: AFP

CAIRO/WASHINGTON - Islamic State (IS) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a shooting in which a 64-year-old American man killed at least 58 people and wounded more than 500 in Las Vegas, but United States (US) officials said there was no evidence so far linking the gunman to any international militant group.

In its claim, IS said the gunman had converted to Islam a few months ago, according to the group’s news agency Amaq.

US officials said American security agencies were examining the claim of responsibility.

“The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition,” Amaq news agency said in reference to the US-led coalition fighting the group in the Middle East.

US authorities said the gunman, who lived in a retirement home in Mesquite, Nevada, and was armed with more than 10 rifles, opened fire on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday night from a 32nd-floor window.

The man, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, killed himself before police entered the hotel room he was shooting from, police said.

Two senior US government officials told Reuters that Paddock’s name was not on any database of suspected terrorists. There was reason to believe that Paddock had a history of psychological problems, one official said.

Meanwhile, world leaders have sent condolences to the American people in the wake of the terror attack.

President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin have also sent condolences to the families of the victims.

The South African Department of International Relations says there are no immediate reports of any South Africans being caught up in the attack.

[WATCH] Las Vegas death toll rises to 58, no ISIS connection found

Trump says an investigation will try and determine why the man attacked the crowd.

“It was an act of pure evil. The FBI and the department of homeland security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation and they will provide updates.”

He's commended the police and FBI.

“To have found the shooter so quickly after the shots were fired is something that we will always be thankful and grateful for. It shows what true professionalism is all about.”

TOLL MAY RISE

Las Vegas Sherrif Joe Lombardo says they're worried the toll will rise.

“The number of people that have died associated with this event has increased, right now we’re using the number of 58. I just was informed that it may be 59 of an individual that may have expired at Sunrise hospital.”

He says they have been searching paddocks property.

“We have just recovered items and it will take a while to evaluate that information. We have learned information of an additional property in northern Nevada and the FBI has responded to that location and will be serving a search warrant there shortly.”

Clarke County district attorney Steve Wolfson says the community is in a state of shock.

“This was a horrific event, to say the least. This is classic WMB. This is a weapon and a man of mass destruction. What I’m pleased so much about is how this doesn’t involve politics in the sense of republican or democrat. We are here, all of us are Nevadans.”

'CRAZED LUNATIC'

The mayor of Las Vegas has described the terrorist who’s carried out the largest mass shooting in US history as "a crazed lunatic".

Authorities have confirmed the number of injured stands at 515.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman said: “This is a crazed lunatic full of hate we don’t know much about his background but it certainly is not an extension of what we believe in. What everybody who lives here, works here and who visits here wants to see.”

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