No meeting with shooter’s father: State Department
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The US State Department on Monday refuted reports that its officials had met Siddique Mateen, father of the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen.
“We have no record of any meetings between State Department policy officials and Seddique Mateen,” State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner told Pajhwok Afghan News.
However, he said the State Department was aware of reports from social media purporting to show Omar Mateen’s father Siddique Mateen meeting with State Department officials.
“While we continue to review our records, at this time, we believe he was photographed outside of the State Department’s office on Capitol Hill (where we work on consular issues for members and their constituents),” Toner said, referring to the pictures being circulated on social media.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said Omar Mateen appeared to be motivated by "extremist information distributed over the internet.”
The president said Mateen did not appear to be part of a broader ISIS plot even though he pledged allegiance to the terrorist network in a 911 phone call in between the shooting.
“At this stage, we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally. It does appear that at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there's no evidence so far that he was, in fact, directed by ISIL,” Obama said after his meeting with the FBI Director.
Fifty people were killed in a gay bar in Orlando in the wee hours of Sunday after Omar Mateen opened fire inside the crowded room. In between the shootout, he called the police and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. “At this stage, there's no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot,” Obama said.
At a news conference in Orlando, local police officials said Mateen was killed in a gun battle. The police recovered two weapons from the spot.
In an interview, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for vigilance of Muslims and mosques. “We need intelligence gathering. We have to look at the mosques. We have to look at the community. And believe me, the community knows the people that have potential for blow up,” Trump told CNN in an interview.
For the first time, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is the Democratic presidential nominee, used the term radical Islamic.
“I have clearly said that we face terrorists enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people.”
She told NBC in an interview: “We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.