UPDATE 1-Orlando shooter visited Saudi Arabia in 2011, 2012 -Saudi interior ministry – Reuters


(Adds comment by U.S. official)

RIYADH, June 13 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.

A U.S. official said his travel records indicate that he
apparently also visited the United Arab Emirates on one of the
trips. Umrah is a lesser pilgrimage to Mecca than the haj, which
unlike umrah is mandatory for all Muslims.

However, the official said, the Saudis so far have not
provided any evidence that Mateen made contact with known
extremists during his visits to the kingdom, adding that anyone
thought to be a threat is kept under surveillance by Saudi
authorities, although that doesn’t mean they have a handle on
everyone with radical views or contacts.

Early on Sunday, Mateen stormed the nightclub with a handgun
and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, fatally shooting 49 people
before police killed him in the worst mass shooting in U.S.
history. Fifty-three others were wounded, many critically.

U.S. authorities said Mateen called police during the
massacre to pledge allegiance to Islamic State, which in recent
years declared a caliphate over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
But the depth of his commitment to the militant group is
unclear.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall in Riyadh and John Walcott in
Washington; Writing by Jon Boyle; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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