ISIS claims responsibility for Orlando mass shooting

Omar Mateen
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the mass shooting attack in an Orlando gay club on Sunday that left more than 50 people dead.

“The attack that targeted a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida and that left more than 100 dead and wounded was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,” the group said in a report on its official Amaq news agency. The message was attributed to an unnamed “source” and distributed over the Telegram messaging app on Sunday afternoon.

The claim comes after law enforcement officials quoted by multiple news organizations, including NBC News and the New York Times said the suspected shooter, Omar Mateen, called 911 before the attack in order to swear his allegiance to ISIS. Speaking at a news conference in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon, an FBI official confirmed that Mateen had made a call to 911, but did not indicate the content of the call.

The claims underline a pattern in which ISIS seeks to inspire sympathizers to carry out attacks—with or without operational support from the group—and then claims responsibility for the carnage after the fact. In such plots, the connection to ISIS as a central organization may exist only in the attackers mind, but the resulting violence is no less lethal.

Declarations of allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi have been a hallmark of past attacks by jihadist sympathizers, including the San Bernardino shooting in December. One of the two shooters in the Garland, Texas shooting in May 2015, indicated support for ISIS in a post on Twitter just before the attack.

The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday came weeks after a top ISIS official issued a call for attacks throughout the world during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began on June 6.

Credit: Time