Sunday, June 12, 2016

U.S. officials: No evidence of direct Islamic State link to Orlando shooting - Reuters

At least 50 people were killed and 53 others were wounded in the Pulse nightclub before the gunman was shot dead by police.

The shooter was identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, a Florida resident and U.S.-born son of Afghan immigrants who a senior FBI official said might have had leanings toward Islamic State.

The FBI official cautioned, however, that proving the suspected link to radical Islamism required further investigation.

Three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation into the massacre said that no evidence had yet been found showing a direct link with Islamic State or any other militant group.

There is “no evidence yet that this was directed or connected to ISIS. So far as we know at this time, his first direct contact was a pledge of bayat (loyalty) he made during the massacre," said a U.S. counter-terrorism official, referring to a 911 call the suspect made on Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

A U.S. intelligence official said it was not unexpected that Islamic State would claim responsibility given that the group has been suffering serious losses of fighters and territory in Iraq and Syria.

Speaking at the White House, President Barack Obama called the attack "an act of terror and an act of hate," and said the FBI would spare no effort to determine whether the suspect had been inspired by any extremist group. - More 

Gunman massacres 50 at Florida gay club in worst U.S. mass shooting


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