Early Sunday morning, a 29-year-old gunman entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando and claimed the lives of over 50 people, with 50 more wounded in area hospitals. Officials are calling the Orlando shooting a terror attack, but the why surrounding such a horrible tragedy still lingers in everyone's mind. And, considering the similarity of the Orlando shooting to the Bataclan shootings in Paris last year, it's easy for people to wonder whether ISIS was involved in the Pulse attack.
(Update: ISIS has indeed claimed responsibility in the attack. Amaq News, which has contacts in the terror organization, reported, "The armed attack that targeted a gay night club in the city of Orlando in the American state of Florida which left over 100 people dead or injured was carried out by an Islamic State fighter."
The FBI has also updated the death toll to 49 victims. The shooter was also killed.)
Authorities have identified the shooter as Florida U.S. citizen Omar Mateen, who was shot and killed by officials at the scene of the attack. But it's not clear whether an organization like ISIS was behind the attacks. On Sunday, on CNN, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's Rep. Adam Schiff said that the shooter had “made a pledge of allegiance” to the terrorist organization. Officials also reported the same to NBC News. It's unclear whether that allegiance was an official tie to ISIS, however.
Following the attacks in Paris, which led to the deaths of 130 people, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, calling it the "first of the storm."
Though we still don't know whether ISIS is responsible for the Orlando shooting, there's little doubt that the attack, which is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, was motivated by hate, a horrific terror attack regardless of motive. After all, it almost seems ridiculous to discuss motive when the attack itself is so senseless.
More to come...