The wife of Orlando massacre gunman Omar Mateen has broken her silence, telling the New York Times "I was unaware".

Noor Salman told the newspaper that the massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Florida in June had occurred at a better time for the couple.

Mateen had just been accepted into a police training programme. "He had given her permission to visit her family in California and handed her spending money for the trip. And he had stopped hitting her," the New York Times reports.

Mateen, who killed 49 people in the rampage, told his wife that he would not be home for dinner on June 11, saying he had to see a friend. He kissed her and hugged their 3-year-old son as he left.


Salman, whose parents immigrated to the United States from the West Bank in 1985, denied any involvement or foreknowledge of the attack in her first interview.

"I was unaware of everything," she told the New York Times. "I don't condone what he has done. I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people."

Salman painted a portrait of Mateen as someone who easily became angry, beat her often, and lived his life in secret.

She said she has moved three times since the attack, hoping to avoid the media, and asked that her location not be disclosed.

The newspaper says prosecutors are still weighing charges that could include lying to the FBI.

On her reason for speaking out she said: "I just want people to know that I am human. I am a mother".

- Herald Online