The father of Syed Farook, one of the accused San Bernardino shooters, said his son admired ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

By Char Adams
Updated December 07, 2015 09:30 AM
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Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty

The father of one of the San Bernardino shooters said that his son supported ISIS and was obessed with Israel, and said he could never forgive himself, according to an interview with an Italian newspaper.

“He said he shared the ideology of [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi to create an Islamic State, and he was fixated on Israel,” the father, whose name is also Syed Farook, told Italian newspaper La Stampa, according to USA Today.

“I kept telling him always: stay calm, be patient, in two years Israel will no longer exist,” the elder Farook said. “Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China, America too, nobody wants the Jews there.”

Reporters specifically asked the father if his son ever talked about ISIS. He responded: “Who does not talk about it these days?”

Authorities say Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire on a conference center during a Christmas party last Wednesday in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and injuring 21.

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Details about the married couple have emerged since the deadly shooting, including reports that they had ties to radical Islam and that Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS prior to to the shooting.

A federal official said Malik expressed “admiration” for al-Baghdadi in a since-deleted Facebook post, the Associated Press reports. But the official said there is no indication that anyone associated with the terrorist group reached out to her.

Shortly after the shooting, authorities found thousands of rounds of ammunition and 12 pipe bombs at a townhouse in neighboring Redlands leased to the couple.

Speaking to La Stampa, Farook’s father recalled the first time he saw his son with a gun, and noted that he “became angry.”

“In 45 years in the United States, I yelled: ‘I have never had a weapon.’ He shrugged his shoulders and replied: ‘Your loss,’ ” the father said.

“I cannot forgive myself,” he added. “Maybe if I had been at home, I would have found out and stopped him.”

Divorce court documents obtained by PEOPLE point to the possibility that the younger Syed Farook’s home life was turbulent. Farook’s mother, Rafia Farook, alleged that Farook’s father was verbally and physically abusive and was “negligent and an alcoholic.”

In the documents, Rafia alleged that her husband at the time was “threatening to kill himself.”