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At least 50 people have been killed and 53 injured after a gunman launched what police say was a "domestic terrorism incident" at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Police say an officer working as a security guard inside the Pulse nightclub exchanged fire with the suspect at about 2am local time (7am UK time), before a hostage situation developed, a team of officers entered the club and shot dead the gunman.

  1. omHis family is from Afghanistan, while Mateen is believed to have been born in the United States.

Mr Mateen, who is said by the FBI to have "leanings" towards extremism and Islamic State, was involved with a stand-off with officers for around three hours before SWAT teams stormed the building and shot him dead.

It already ranks as one of the deadliest shootings in American history, with a larger death toll than the attacks in San Bernardino, California last December.

It was unclear when the victims were shot by the gunman. 

Orlando Police Chief John Mina told a press conference: "At... 0500 hours this morning, the decision was made to rescue hostages that were in there. Our officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect. The suspect is dead," 

There were approximately 320 people in the club when the shooting began. At least one officer was injured in the gun fight but the police action saved at least 30 lives, Mr Mina said.

Witnesses in the club posted messages on social media as the stand-off took place, while one reportedly texted his mother to say: "He's rounded us up and he is going to kill us."

A message posted on Pulse's Facebook page read: "Everyone get out of pulse and keep running"

Police say the suspect was carrying an assault-type rifle and a handgun as well as an unidentified "device" on him.

Source:  .independent.co.uk

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