Report: Orlando Killer Omar Mateen ‘Made a Pledge of Allegiance’ to ISIS

Orlando Police, AP Foto/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN that according to local law enforcement sources, Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen made a “pledge of allegiance” to ISIS prior to killing 50 people and wounding 53 others during Sunday morning’s attack at the Pulse night club.

“What I’ve heard from the Department of Homeland Security this morning is that, according to local police, he made a pledge of allegiance to ISIL,” Schiff said on CNN, according to the Hill. “[He] was heard praying in a foreign language, and I don’t know if this was at some point during the course of the shooting, but that’s what I’m hearing, obviously second-hand, coming ultimately from local police.”

In a statement Sunday, Schiff called the Sunday morning shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando “painfully reminiscent” of the terror attacks that killed more than 100 people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris earlier this year.

“Right now, the intelligence community is combing through its holdings, checking what we have on the shooter, and coordinating with local law enforcement in the investigation,” Schiff said in a statement. “I have received an initial briefing, and expect to be briefed throughout the day over the coming days. This attack is so painfully reminiscent of the terrible attack at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, and other ISIS-inspired attacks in recent years.”

“The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIS leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT nightclub during Pride, and — if accurate — that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS indicates an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism,” Schiff added.”Whether this attack was also ISIS-directed, remains to be determined. I’m confident that we will know much more in the coming hours and days.”

Schiff’s comments echoed those of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who said on CBS News Sunday morning that intelligence sources have told him that Mateen has a “connection” to ISIS.

“From our intel staff, they think there is a connection to ISIS, but that has not been confirmed, and that, I want to make sure you understand, is not from the FBI, but that is from some in the intel community,” Nelson said.

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