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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Orlando Gay Bar ISIS Attack


In what is now possibly being considered the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil since the September 11 attacks, an armed gunman broke into an Orlando gay bar and opened fire on the guests, killing and wounding numerous victims and taking the rest hostage for a tense several hours before being shot dead by police.

CNN.com reported that the suspect, 29-year- old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, an Afghan-American Muslim born of immigrant parents in New York, entered the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando around 2 AM Sunday with an assault rifle and pistol, and fired indiscriminately into the more than 300 patros gathered there for the Pulse’s Saturday “Latin Night” special event. A total of 50 people were killed, some on the scene and others after being taken to hospital. Another 53 were wounded. The Pulse management was able to send a message on its Facebook account 9 minutes after the beginning of the carnage, warning customers inside the expansive building to flee.

After the initial attack, Mateen kept 30 survivors hostage in the club and called 911, informing them of the situation and identifying himself as pledging allegiance to the terrorist organization ISIS and its leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. A standoff between the hostage taker and police lasted some 3 hours according to FoxNews.com, ending when SWAT teams finally broke into the Pulse and killed Mateen, who was clearly heard shouting “Allah Akbar” while exchanging fire with law enforcement.

There are fears that the death toll will yet rise with some of the more gravely injured partygoers.

Reuters.com adds that 9 SWAT operators were involved in the final confrontation with Mateen. One of them suffered a minor eye injury after a bullet struck his Kevlar helmet, but is in no worse Omar Mateen, who was last reported living in Fort Pierce, FL, worked as a security officer at global private security company G4S Secure Solutions since 2007. His parents recall him being outraged after seeing two men kiss once in Miami, but did not consider him to be fervently religious and could see no means by which he would have gotten connections to ISIS. His brief wife of four months in 2009 (he only formally filed for divorce in 2011) agrees that he was not particularly devout as a Muslim, but he did have a history of steroid use and struck her as having slight bipolar tendencies.

ISIS itself was quick to claim responsibility for Mateen’s actions through its news agency Amaqdescribing him as an Islamic State fighter, although CNN specialist correspondent Salma Abdelaziz expressed doubts on its veracity, as the message only stated the shooting after the fact, not actually stating that they ordered Mateen to do so. Nonetheless, ISIS had been calling on its supporters on Amaq over the past few days to perform acts of terrorism during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and the resulting shootout at the Pulse nightclub may have likely been inspired by these calls.

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton have both condemned the event as an act of terror, while 2016 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump saw it as justifying his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the US. If confirmed as a genuine act of terrorism, the Orlando Pulse shootout will be the deadliest such attack on America since the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.

Photo Credit to www.dailymail.co.uk

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