Is the so-called Islamic State really behind Orlando mass shooting?

At least 50 people were killed in the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Credit: Reuters/Steve Nesius

Islamic State (IS) says it was responsible for the Orlando shooting.

Of course it has. Why wouldn’t it? After all, this was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, fifteen years ago.

But the terror group’s vague statement, issued by its semi-official news agency, carries none of the level of detail or language that is usually included in such declarations.

For example, after the Paris attacks last November, IS said it had selected the city as a target because it is “the capital of prostitution and obscenity”.

It described how “eight brothers wrapped in explosive belts and armed with machine rifles targeted sites that were accurately chosen in the heart of the capital of France”.

Today’s statement is just a few words long.

It describes Omar Mateen - without naming him - as a 'soldier of the caliphate’. It offers no evidence that he was acting under their direction. It suggests he might have been a lone wolf - a so-called ‘self starter’.

There’s no doubt that Omar Mateen was affiliated to IS. Minutes before the shooting, he called 911 to pledge his allegiance to the terror group and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

His conversation with the unsuspecting call handler gives an insight into his mindset.

But it doesn’t prove that he was acting under the orders of IS.