Islamic State news agency says Orlando massacre the work of its ‘fighter’

16-06-12 Amaq claim for Orlando on official website

A terrorist opened fire at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours today, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens more. It is the most devastating mass casualty shooting in American history.

US officials have identified the shooter as Omar Mateen, a 29 year-old American citizen from Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, released a statement within hours of the massacre claiming that a “fighter” from the group was responsible.

“The attack that targeted a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida and that left more than 100 dead and wound was carried out by an Islamic State fighter,” Amaq’s statement reads. The claim of responsibility was released in both English and Arabic online.

Amaq’s claim does not indicate that Mateen was directed by the Islamic State, or that that the organization had foreknowledge of his plans. It is possible that he was inspired by the so-called “caliphate,” but wasn’t in contact with Islamic State members or leaders beforehand.

Amaq was also the first Islamic State mouthpiece to say that the group’s “supporters” carried out the San Bernardino shootings in December of 2015.

Many details about the Orlando shootings remain to be confirmed. Congressman Adam Schiff, who is the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN earlier today that authorities believe Mateen swore allegiance to the Islamic State before opening fire.

If this detail is verified, then it is consistent with what the Islamic State tells its followers to do. The Islamic State emphasizes the necessity of obedience to its “caliphate” and warns that disobedience is a sure path to the fires of hell.

Dabiq's 12th edition on obedience

A graphic (seen on the right) included in Dabiq’s 12th edition cites Islamic texts to make this point. A Muslim must either join the state or nation of believers by swearing bay’ah to the leader, or die in a state of ignorance.

“Whoever withdraws his hand from obedience will meet Allah on Resurrection Day without having any excuse,” one saying attributed to the Prophet Mohammed, and reproduced in Dabiq, reads. “And whoever dies without having a bay’ah binding him, dies a death of jahiliyyah [state of ignorance].”

According to multiple reports, one or both of the San Bernardino shooters swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s enterprise either during or just before their day of terror.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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6 Comments

  • Chuck says:

    A real ‘fighter’ shooting unarmed people. In the Corps, we would call you coward bastards.

  • Does anyone have a link to Amaq’s website or Twitter account?

  • Paul Kamolnick says:

    A couple of facts are worth considering.
    1. The San Bernadino massacre appeared more inspired by Awlaki’s AQAP ‘lone mujahid’ message.
    2. Adnani’s latest audio, May 21, 2016, consistent with most post-August 2014 Islamic State Organization (ISO) messaging is calling on the ‘lone wolves’ to kill by any means, anyone, at anytime, and remain in place rather than Hijra (emigration). He says:

    “Truly, the smallest act you do in their lands is more beloved to us than the biggest act done here; it is more effective for us and more harmful to them. If one of you wishes and strives to reach the lands of the Islamic State, then each of us wishes to be in your place to make examples of the crusaders, day and night, scaring them and terrorizing them, until every neighbor fears his neighbor.
    Know that your targeting those who are called “civilians” is more beloved to us and more effective, as it is more harmful, painful, and a greater deterrent to them. So go forth, O muwahhidin everywhere! It might be that you attain great reward or even shahadah during Ramadan.
    3. AQAP and ISO have, owing to their failure to make headway among the world’s Sunni Muslims, reoriented to mass casualty terrorism directed at ‘far enemy’ targets carried out by ‘lone wolves’ whose criminal, psychological, and interpersonal traits are very far indeed from the type of scholarly serious Islamic warriors of yesteryear.
    4. Criminal mass murder conducted in the name of Islam will of course further polarize our current political climate as one side takes the side of blaming Radical Islam, and other, lax gun laws. Neither is correct since what we have learned is that an American-born Afghanistan-American, an employee of one of the nations largest personal security contractors with the responsibility of protecting federal employees, and possessed of the right to possess and purchase arms, apparently made a phone call in the midst of a murderous rampage and via a ‘911’ call claimed responsibility in the name of ISO. Possible mental illness, according to his former wife, may also be at issue. This age of hyper-empowered individuals who can interpret their failed and desperate lives through the lens of ‘Islam’ and therefore go down in a blaze of glory, and even promised a quicker road to paradise through unspeakable mass murder, is surely one requiring a more nuanced debate than that to which we shall soon be treated.

  • Arjuna says:

    This attack is straight out of Inspire. Target, weapons, style, timing. Mr DownLow Mateen was dirty for a long time and as stupid as Saleh Ashtray. He knew that scuzzy American loser who blew himself up for Al Nusra. Get his family and his Imam and his mosquemates and get them out of America. This scuzzball worked for G4S who guard almost all of our nuke plants for years. Dropped ball by the Bureau to not pick up on his bad friends being a bad sign. Any watch list? No Guns, period.

    • Arjuna says:

      This is an even bigger own goal by the fibbies (from Express UK):

      Omar Mateen and his wife, Noor Zahi Salman, visited Walt Disney World in April, according to a US law enforcement source.

      Salman reportedly warned federal authorities that her husband had been “scouting Downtown Disney and Pulse for attacks” before her partner murdered 49 people.

  • Arjuna says:

    Supposedly he was on the phone w a person in a foreign language where he was buying “bulk” ammo and got refused a Level III vest. Terrorist. Foreign links. Trips to Saudi and the Gulf. Obama can ask his buddies in person how they knew him…

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