ISIS claims responsibility for America’s most deadly mass shooting: Terror group, 29, celebrates their New York-born ‘fighter’ Omar Mateen who died a martyr in Orlando gay club after killing 50
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- US citizen Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire inside Pulse gay club in Orlando in the early hours of this morning
- Mateen, from Port St. Lucie in Florida, killed at least 50 people, injured 53 and took party-goers hostage
- Police used an explosive device to distract the gunman and rescued around 30 people who had been taken hostage
- Officers engaged in gunfire with the man and an officer was shot in the head, but he was saved by his helmet
- Mateen was shot dead by officers shortly after 5am – three hours after the massacre began
- See more of the latest news on the Orlando shooting at Pulse gay club as gunman shoots at least 50 dead
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Orlando gay club massacre and says the gunman that slaughtered at least 50 people was one of its fighters.
Shooter Omar Mateen, 29, from Port St. Lucie in Florida, opened fire at Pulse night club in the early hours of this morning.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 others were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in US history and the first time ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on US soil.
In total, 39 people were killed inside the club, two outside, and nine others died after being rushed to hospital.
A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.
Shortly before the attack, Mateen, who was born in New York to Afghan parents, called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Islamic State’s Amaq news agency said on Sunday that the Islamist militant group was responsible for the shooting.
‘The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,’ Amaq said.
U.S. officials cautioned, however, that they had no immediate evidence of any direct connection with Islamic State or any other foreign extremist group, nor had they uncovered any contacts between the gunman and any such group.
During the attack, Mateen also referenced the brothers who carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman said on Sunday.
‘During a conference call with federal law enforcement officials a short time ago, Massachusetts State Police and other local law enforcement authorities learned that the Orlando nightclub gunman, during his rampage, pledged allegiance to ISIS and referenced the Tsarnaev brothers,’ state police spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail.
The Tsarnaev brothers killed three people and injured more than 260 in the April 15, 2013, attack. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died four days later during a gunbattle with police while Dzhokhar Tsaranev, now 22, has been sentenced to death for his role in the attack.
However Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News his son became angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami several months ago.
‘This has nothing to do with religion,’ he said. ‘We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.’
This afternoon, the first victims of the massacre were identified. Stanley Almodovar III, who lived in Clermont, Florida, and Edward Sotomayor Jr of Sarasota, Florida, were killed in the shooting.