Anti-terror strategy under scrutiny after worst US gun massacre

2016-06-13 澳洲华人俱乐部










US anti-terror strategy came under fresh scrutiny after a gunman previously cleared of jihadist ties launched a hate-fueled rampage in a Florida gay nightclub that left 50 people dead.

As the worst mass shooting in modern US history erupted on Sunday, Orlando police blasted their way into the Pulse nightclub and shot the attacker dead.

The murderous assault triggered grief but also defiance in the gay and lesbian community, andmore than 100,000 marched in a planned Los Angeles Gay Pride parade.

In New York, the Tony Awards for musical theatre went ahead as planned but were dedicated to the victims of the massacre.

"We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate," President Barack Obama said, as the FBI investigated the shooter.

Prominent US Muslim figures, Pope Francis and world leaders condemned the attack, which is being treated as the worst act of terror on US soil since September 11, 2001.

The FBI admitted that 29-year-old Omar Mateen had previously been investigated — but cleared — for ties to a US suicide bomber.

Special Agent Ronald Hopper also said Mateen was reported to have made a 911 call pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group shortly before the massacre.

The IS-linked news agency Amaq said without providing evidence that one of its fighters carried out the attack.

But the group, which has previously been a conduit for IS statements, cited only "a source", leading experts to doubt the claim.

Terrified survivors described how the gunman raked clubgoers with bullets, prompting a police SWAT team to storm the venue.

LGBTI community rallies

The world's LGBTI community is rallying together after the shooting, with vigils planned in cities around the world.

In the United States, New York's Empire State Building went dark, while the spire of the One World Trade Centre lit up in the colours of the gay pride flag in memory of the victims.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all flags would be flown at half-mast and that security measures had been strengthened, including at places associated with the LGBTI community.

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LGBTI advocacy group GLAAD sent a team to Orlando to help support local organisations in the wake of the shooting, saying on Twitter that their hearts "break for the victims and families of this horrific act of violence."

"We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Orlando," the group said.

In Melbourne, about 300 people gathered in Fitzroy for a vigil. People bowed their heads for 50 seconds of silence — one second for each victim.

Speaking at the rally, OJ Blain-Allen urged LGBTI people to stand together.

"We are not a community that will go away," he said.

"We will not hide, we will not be intimidated by this horrible event."

Worst mass shootings in US history:

  • Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016: 50 people die, another 53 are injured when a heavily-armed gunman opens fire and seizes hostages at a gay nightclub

  • Blacksburg, Virginia, April 16, 2007: 23-year-old student of Korean origin goes on a rampage at Virginia Tech University, killing 32 people

  • Newtown, Connecticut, December 14 2012: A young man kills 26 people, including 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary school. He also fatally shoots his mother. He kills himself

  • Killeen, Texas, October 16, 1991: A man shoots dead 22 people in a restaurant and then kills himself. Another injured victim dies later

Other significant gun attacks:

  • Littleton, Colorado, April 20, 1999: Two teenage boys shoot and kill 12 classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School before killing themselves

  • Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012: A man kills 12 people and injures 70 more when he opens fire at a movie theatre showing a late-night premiere of a Batman film

  • Fort Hood, Texas, November 5, 2009. US army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan opens fire at his military base, killing 13 people and wounding 42



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