ISIS released a “kill list” of targets days before the lone-wolf terrorist attack in Orlando, with over 8,000 people listed by name.
According to News 3 Las Vegas, an ISIS affiliate known as the “United Cyber Caliphate” -known for hacking the US Central Command and threatening President Barack H. Obama- announced that they listed a number of targets before June 8th, including around 600 in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast of Florida.
Reports of the list were shared when the list surfaced on the encrypted app known as Telegram, which has been a communications hub for ISIS traffic and propaganda.
— SITE Cyber Security (@SITE_CYBER) June 7, 2016
Former FBI agent and lawyer Stuart Kaplan said on days before the attack that the threat was “going to create some hysteria,” with concern that the list would inspire “lone wolf” attacks from ISIS sympathizers.
“If in fact a sympathizer gets ahold of this list and is readily able to identify you as being his neighbor and, then, decides to go out and do something horrific to you, there is no way to calculate the potential or to prevent that,” he said.
According to an inquiry by News 3 to the Sheriff’s office of Martin County, Florida, the FBI was aware of the threats and was working “closely with the Joint-Terrorism Task Force to keep citizens safe.”
Four days later, the state of Florida was rocked by an attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, wherein at least 50 people were killed and more wounded when Islamic extremist Omar Mir Seddique Mateen carried out a one-man assault on the club.
According to CNN, a police officer working extra duty at the club was the first to spot Mateen at around 2AM, engaging him in a gunfight alongside two other officers. After they failed to stop Mateen, the extremist entered the club and opened fire.
The 29-year-old Mateen had reportedly called 911 dispatchers during the incident, pledging allegiance to ISIS and referencing the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Police were forced by superiors into a standoff/hostage situation, having to wait three hours before they were backed by armored support and given the green light to breach the nightclub. At approximately 5AM, SWAT teams used an armored vehicle to breach the door at the nightclub, unleashing a barrage of gunfire that killed the gunman. Nearly five hours later, the casualties were revealed at 50 dead and 53 wounded.
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Orange County, where the attack took place.
Mateen’s father -a pro-Sharia supporter who ran for president of the family’s native homeland of Afghanistan- claimed that his son was not an Islamic radical and had simply been upset by seeing two men kiss in Miami.
“He was well behaved. His appearance was perfect,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post. “I didn’t see any sign of worrying or being upset or nervous.”
Mateen had previously worked as an armed security guard for G4S, which is contracted to guard government buildings. He had also been under investigation by the FBI twice for suspected terrorist ties but was deemed not serious enough of a threat.
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