The so-called “Islamic State” has claimed responsibility for the incident via its Amaq news outlet, saying that the attack was “carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”


Orlando shooter “swore allegiance to ISIL”

The gunman who killed more than 50 people in a Florida LGBT nightclub early on Sunday before being shot dead by police has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, an American citizen who reportedly called 911 prior to the gun attack, swearing his allegiance to ISIL, according to a US official.

At least 53 people have been hospitalized while some people who were at the club remain unaccounted for, adding to fears that the death toll may increase.

The so-called “Islamic State” has claimed responsibility for the incident via its Amaq news outlet, saying that the attack was “carried out by an Islamic State fighter.”

NBC News reported that Mateen called emergency services before the attack and swore allegiance to IS. He also mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers, the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

American officials have however warned that there isn’t any evidence to suggest the direct involvement of ISIL.

US President Barack Obama has called the shooting, which is the bloodiest in modern American history, an “act of terror and hate.”


“We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer,” Obama said. “The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism.”

Omar Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News that his son got angry when he recently saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago, saying it might be related to the attack. Seddique said the attack had nothing to do with religion.

Mateen was a US citizen, born in New York and previously employed as a security guard. His parents are originally from Afghanistan.

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the killings a hate crime and said his group has no tolerance for extremism of any kind.

Awad says members of the LGBT community have stood with Muslims in the past and today they stand with that community.

On the website of Pulse, the nightclub at the center of the horrific attack, is a statement from the club’s owner Barbara Poma. “Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you.”

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate who has been outspoken about a toughened policy against Muslims and immigrants, calling for a controversial temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, commented on twitter after the shooting that he appreciates “the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

“I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

The remarks were immediately met with severe criticism.


In a parallel investigation on Sunday, authorities in Los Angeles tried to establish facts about a potential attack on the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood.

A man from Indiana was caught with “a cache of weapons, ammunition and explosive-making materials in his car,” reported the Los Angeles Times.


Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said on Twitter that the 20-year-old man confessed that he wanted “to harm Gay Pride.” Local officials are still trying to ascertain his motives.


In Orlando, police say Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub at around 2 a.m., armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and handgun, and began shooting.

Jackie Smith, who was inside the club, said two friends next to her were shot.

“Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance,” Smith told the AP. “I just tried to get out of there.”

After a standoff of that went on for around three hours, with people trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle, threw stun grenades and killed Mateen.

“It appears he was organized and well-prepared,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. Authorities said they haven’t found any accomplices.




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