An ISIS terrorist committed the worst mass shooting in US history, killing 49 people; at least 53 more are hospitalized, mostly in critical condition.
An Islamic terrorist wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday, killing at least 49 people before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The terrorist was identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization claimed responsibility for the massacre.
Mateen, the lone attacker, was born and raised in America; his parents hail from Afghanistan. His father, Seddique Mateen, is a Taliban supporter, police said.
The son called 911 moments before the attack and pledged allegiance to ISIS, a federal law enforcement official confirmed.
The law enforcement official said Mateen was known to the FBI before the nightclub attack and had been looked at by agents within the last few years.
When asked if the gunman had a connection to radical Islamic terrorism, Hopper said authorities had “suggestions that individual has leanings towards that.”
Authorities were investigating the attack on the Florida dance hall as an act of terrorism. The terrorist’s father recalled that his son recently got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami and said that might be related to the assault.
At least 53 people were hospitalized, most in critical condition, officials said. A surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center said the death toll was likely to climb.
All of the dead were killed with the assault rifle, according to Rep. Alan Grayson.
‘Israel Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with the US’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement of condolence Sunday evening.
“On behalf of the people and government of Israel, I extend our deepest condolences to the American people following last night’s horrific attack on the LGBT community in Orlando,” he said.
“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with the United States at this moment of tragic loss. We send our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and wish a full and speedy recovery to the wounded.”
President Barack Obama called the shooting an “act of terror” and an “act of hate” targeting a place of “solidarity and empowerment” for gays and lesbians. He urged Americans to decide whether this is the kind of “country we want to be.”
Sunday evening’s Tony Awards have been dedicated to the victims of the shooting.
By: United with Israel Staff and AP
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