U.S. grounds Saudi pilots, halts military training after base shooting

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 11, 2019 - Duration: 01:18s

U.S. grounds Saudi pilots, halts military training after base shooting

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday it was halting operational training of all Saudi Arabian military personnel in the United States until further notice, after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a base in Florida.

Francis Maguire reports.

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U.S. grounds Saudi pilots, halts military training after base shooting

The Pentagon has announced it has stopped training all Saudi military personnel in the U.S. until further notice.

That comes after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people at a base in Florida.

Tuesday's (December 10) decision includes grounding 300 Saudi military aviation students as part of a 'safety stand-down'.

The Pentagon confirmed the move will also affect infantry personnel and all other Saudi training, other than classroom training.

A U.S. defense official said the move was intended to allow a broader review of security procedures.

The FBI believes 21 year-old Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani acted alone when he attacked a U.S. navy base in Pensacola on Friday.

He was fatally shot by a deputy sheriff.

Alshamrani was on the base as part of a U.S. navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.

He started training in the U.S. in 2017.

A group that tracks online extremism said Alshamrani appeared to quote former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Twitter hours before the attack.

The shootings have again raised questions about the U.S. military relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Those ties have come under scrutiny by Congress due to the war in Yemen and Saudi's killing of Jamal Khashoggi last year.

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