by WorldTribune Staff, June 12, 2016
The Muslim terrorist who killed 50 people and wounded more than 50 more at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on “Latin Night” had leanings to radical Islam, the FBI said on June 12.
Authorities said the terrorist, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a U.S. citizen with Afghan ties, may have pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the FBI was investigating possible threats made previously by Mateen in connection to Islamic terrorist organizations.
“The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIL leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT night club during Pride, and – if accurate – that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIL, indicates an ISIL-inspired act of terrorism,” Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat and member of the House Intelligence Committee, said.
“Whether this attack was also ISIL-directed, remains to be determined. I’m confident that we will know much more in the coming hours and days.”
Schiff said on CNN that police in Orlando told him that Mateen “was heard praying in a foreign language” at some point during the attack.
Orlando Police chief John Mina said the attack at the Pulse nightclub was well-prepared and organized. Orlando SWAT officers who killed Mateen found an assault rifle, handgun and “suspicious device” on the dead terrorist.
Bomb squad specialists were called in as other such “devices” were spotted around the nightclub and possibly the terrorist’s car.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted: “This is an attack on our people. It’s an attack on Orlando. It’s an attack on FL. It’s an attack on America. It’s an attack on all of us.”
A tweet from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said: “Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?”
Meanwhile, police in Santa Monica, California arrested a man who had explosives, assault rifles and ammunition and was planning to attend a Los Angeles gay pride event, officials said on June 12.
“Police, suspicions of the man, checked his car and that is when they found the weapons and explosives,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The suspect told police he was in town for the pride event in West Hollywood this weekend.
“I want everyone here today to know, we are safe, we are protected, our law enforcement officials are here,” Garcetti said.