US pauses training of Saudi aviation students

US Navy pauses training of hundreds of Saudi Arabian aviation students following shooting in Pensacola.

Elad Benari ,

Traffic on and off base restricted after shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola
Traffic on and off base restricted after shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola
Reuters

The US Navy has paused the training of hundreds of Saudi Arabian aviation students at several training locations following a deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola which was carried out by a Saudi Air Force officer, CNN reported on Tuesday.

A "safety stand-down and operational pause commenced Monday for Saudi Arabian aviation students at NAS Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field and NAS Mayport, Florida. Classroom training is expected to resume this week for those students," Lt. Andriana Genualdi, a spokeswoman for the US Navy, told CNN in a statement.

Genualdi said there are approximately 140 Saudi Arabian students training at Naval Air Station Pensacola and 35 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. There are approximately 128 Saudi Arabian students training at Naval Air Station Mayport.

The Pensacola attack took place on Friday when Mohammed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a student naval flight officer, opened fire in a classroom building on the navy base, killing three sailors.

The 21-year-old, one of 852 Saudis in the US for Defense Department security cooperation training, was killed after two deputies exchanged gunfire with him.

The shooter's membership in the Saudi armed forces has led some to criticize foreign service members participating in US-based military training programs.

The FBI said on Saturday it is believed the shooter acted alone and that motive for the shooting was not yet established, though it added it was working, as it does in most mass shootings, on the presumption that it was an act of terrorism.




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