The Islamic State (IS), a radical Sunni Islamist militant group, claimed responsibility for the shooting attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States, on June 12 (local time). The shooting suspect Omar Mateen, an Afghan-American (29), killed 49 people with an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle in the early morning hours of June 12. Mateen was shot dead by police. A total of 50 people were left dead, including Mateen.
On June 13, IS said through its radio station, “Allah has enabled brother Omar Mateen, one of the soldiers of the Caliphate in America, to carry out a raid where he was able to infiltrate a Crusaders’ gathering at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida. Allah enabled him to inflict heavy casualties amongst the filthy Crusaders.” The term caliph means “successor” to Muhammad, the founder of Islam; it is the title for the supreme religious and political leader of an Islamic state known as the Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah. In June 2014, IS formally declared the establishment of a “caliphate”—a state governed in accordance with Islamic law, and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “Caliph.”
Mateen called 911 just before the shooting to pledge his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. An IS-linked news agency said on June 12 that the attack was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had investigated and interrogated Mateen on three occasions, putting him on a terrorist watch list, but determined that he had no association with terrorism and eventually took him off the watch list. In 2013 and 2014, Mateen was interviewed by the FBI for making inflammatory remarks to his colleagues alleging that he had terrorist ties, but he was let go because there was not enough evidence.