The horrific shooting attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida, Sunday, June 12, which claimed 50 lives and injured 53 people, bore the hallmarks of Islamist terror – even before the FBI defined it as a terror incident and identified the perpetrator as Omar Mateen, in his 20s, of Afghan origin, from Port Luce, Florida.
Heavily armed with an assault rifle, a handgun, and a suspicious "device," the shooter was described as trained in the use of weapons, “organized and well prepared” with leanings towards international terrorism.
This was also the first time since President Barack Obama took office, that the FBI frankly referred to “terror” so soon after an attack.
The Islamic State-affiliated Twitter account has already posted a photo claimed to be Orlando night club gunman Omar Mateen.
The toll at Orlando exceeded the 14 murdered at San Bernadino by an Islamist couple last December, making it the deadliest terrorist outrage since 9/11. Then, the president avoided explicitly citing “Islamist extremists,” as he did after Capt. Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 American servicemen and women at Ford Hood on Nov. 5, 2009.
The new openness displayed by federal officials and some US media to mentioning Islamists or jihadis as responsible for terror attacks reflects the changing political climate in America under the influence of the presidential campaign apace between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Because of the Orlando outrage, the presumptive Democratic nominee is liable to find Obama’s sponsorship places her at a disadvantage against her fiercely combative and blunt Republican rival.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of three figures short-listed by Trump as his running mate, made this comment: "If the FBI knew that this guy was engaged with serious Islamic groups, we're going to have to redefine for the courts national security restrictions, and say if we know that you're in contact with people who actively want to kill Americans, we're going to lock you up," he said. That is what America did under Nazi threat in the ‘30s. "This is an alien ideology that wants to destroy our civilization and our current approach to it is incredibly incompetent."
It is now up to the FBI to determine whether Omar Mateen carried out the Orlando massacre at the behest or an ISIS call on its cells and Muslim sympathizers in America to mark the month-long Ramadan festival by killing more Americans and others. If so, this would be part of an Islamist State’ declaration of worldwide terror onslaught, part of a series that was kicked off last week in Jordan with the murder of five intelligence officers on June 6, followed two days later by a shooting attack that left four Israelis dead at a popular shopping and restaurant center in Tel Aviv. Ramadan has still three weeks to go.