Chattanooga attack still not called terrorism; indecision affects benefits to families

Chattanooga attack still not called terrorism; indecision affects benefits to families

More than five months after attacks on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., left four Marines and a sailor dead, federal investigators still have not determined whether the attack was terrorism – and it’s financially costing the families of those who died, as Purple Heart awards hang in the balance.

The July 16 attack killed Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40; Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 35; Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist; Lance Cpl. Squire D. “Skip” Wells, 21; and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26. Other service members and a Chattanooga police officer also were wounded by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, a naturalized U.S. citizen, who was born in Kuwait. The attack was carried out at the Chattanooga Naval Reserve Center and a recruiting station a few miles away.

As previously reported, Abdulazeez called Muslims who waged jihad in earlier generations “the best human beings that ever lived” other than the prophets, on his blog. He also downloaded recordings of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric who recruited for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula until he was killed in a 2011 airstrike, according to a NBC News report.

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