Saudi Arabia says Orlando gunman performed Umrah in 2011, 2012

Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a gun attack at a gay nightclub, twice performed Islamic pilgrimage, says Interior Ministry
Saudi Arabia says Orlando gunman performed Umrah in 2011, 2012
Orlando police officers seen outside of Pulse nightclub after a fatal shooting and hostage situation where 50 people died on June 12 in Orlando, Florida. (Getty Images)
By Reuters
Mon 13 Jun 2016 07:07 PM

Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a gun attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012, Saudi Interior Ministry security spokesman Major General Mansour Turki said on Monday.

He said Mateen performed the Umrah Islamic pilgrimage for 10 days in March 2011, and eight days the following March.

Mateen's former wife described him as emotionally and mentally disturbed with a violent temper, yet who aspired to be a police officer. He also worked as an armed guard for the security firm G4S, the world's largest, according to the company.

Law enforcement officials were probing evidence suggesting the attack was inspired by ISIL militants, although they said there was no proof that Mateen had worked directly with the group.

As the shooting rampage was unfolding, Mateen made calls to 911 morning in which he stated his allegiance to the leader of ISIL, said Ronald Hopper, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge on the case.

Shots rang out at the crowded Pulse nightclub in the heart of Orlando, one of the most popular US tourist destinations, as some 350 patrons were attending a Latin music event in conjunction with gay pride week celebrations.

Fifty-three people were wounded in the rampage. It ranked as the deadliest single US mass shooting incident, eclipsing the massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007.

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