The terrorist who killed 49 people at a gay Orlando nightclub made repeated pledges of allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group and called himself a soldier of the caliphate in calls with negotiators, according to newly released transcripts.
Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge analyzed the limited transcript of the three phone calls, saying Orlando killer Omar Mateen's references to ISIS were a "consistent drumbeat" in conversations with law enforcement.
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"His pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State is like a consistent drumbeat throughout these phone calls," Herridge said. "It's not kind of a one-off or an isolated event. He also describes himself as a soldier of the caliphate."
Witnesses inside the nightclub reported Mateen told negotiators to stop bombing "my country," a reference to the territory controlled by ISIS. Mateen also said he had a suicide vest on and there was a car outside armed with explosives.
"That further explains the reluctance, if you will, of the Florida SWAT teams to go in immediately after the suicide attacks in France in November last year," Herridge said.
In the midst of his assault on an Orlando nightclub, gunman Omar Mateen identified himself as an "Islamic soldier" and called on U.S. authorities to stop the bombing in Iraq and Syria, according to transcripts of the attacker's telephone contacts with negotiators and police released on Monday.
Asked by a negotiator to describe what he had done, Mateen offered an ominous warning to police.
"No, you already know what I did,'" he said. "There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I'm gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid." No explosives were found on the nightclub premises by authorities.
"The bottom line in this transcript is that his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State is really like a steady drumbeat that is woven throughout these phone calls," Herridge said. "He pledges allegiance. He also pledges solidarity to other terrorists, and then he also takes on the mantle of ISIS, saying he is an Islamic soldier, presumably of the caliphate."
Herridge added the format of the transcript was confusing, pointing out some parts were word-for-word and others were redacted. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Sunday that references to Islamic terrorism would be removed so as not to "further his propaganda."