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Photo of a Saudi Arabian naval cadet who shot and killed other cadets at a naval academy
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the FBI shows Mohammed Alshamrani. The United States is preparing to remove more than a dozen Saudi military students from a training program and return them to their home country after an investigation into a deadly shooting by Saudi aviation student Alshamrani at a Florida navy base in December 2019

U.S. to expel some Saudi trainees after naval base shooting

Reuters, January 13, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is expected to expel some Saudi military students following a shooting attack by a Saudi trainee at a Naval Air Station Pensacola last December, a U.S. congressional source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

READ: U.S. Navy faced with second deadly shooting this week

U.S. Attorney General William Barr and David Bowdich, a deputy director of the FBI, are due to announce on Monday afternoon the findings of a criminal investigation into the Dec. 6 attack, in which Saudi military trainee Mohammed Alshamrani opened fire in a classroom at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

Three sailors were killed and eight other people were wounded before Alshamrani was shot dead by police.

CNN reported that none of the Saudi trainees expected to be sent home were implicated in the shooting attack. The Washington Post reported that investigators had found possible connections between some of the Saudi students and extremist rhetoric or child pornography.

READ: Saudi Terrorist at NAS Pensacola was NOT working alone

It was not immediately clear how many Saudi military students would have their U.S. training curtailed. Some reports put the number at around a dozen, though one counter-terrorism expert said there could be more.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on the CBS “Face the Nation” program on Sunday that he had signed directives on enhanced screening of all foreign students for credentials and weapons.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien told “Fox News Sunday” the shooting “showed that there had been errors in the way that we vetted.”

Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Howard Goller

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