Although the June 12 attack on an Orlando-area nightclub that killed 50 and injured 53 more club-goers carried out by Omar Mir Seddique Mateen has been claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), federal law enforcement officials state no direct connection between Mateen and ISIS has been established.
Amaq News Agency, the official news organization of ISIS, claimed responsibility for the terror attack on Sunday; similarly, al-Bayan, the official radio station operated by ISIS, declared Mateen to be a “soldier of the caliphate.”
“(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 who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Officials suspect one motive for ISIS to immediately claim responsibility for the attack is a response to a string of losses to Syrian and Iraqi forces fighting the group in the Middle East.
Law enforcement officials theorize Mateen was inspired by both “hate and religion,” and contend Mateen was most likely radicalized through his association with online groups.
[Reuters] [heavy.com] [Photo courtesy The Independent]