US stops military training for Saudi students after shooting

11 December 2019, 07:02

Saudi Arabia Defense Attaché Major General Fawaz Al Fawaz (second from right) meets with Saudi students at the NAS Pensacola base in Pensacola, Fla.
Saudi Arabia Defense Attaché Major General Fawaz Al Fawaz (second from right) meets with Saudi students at the NAS Pensacola base in Pensacola, Fla. Picture: PA/FBI
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Pentagon says it will stop operational training of all military personnel from Saudi Arabia in the US until further notice after a gunman from the country killed three people.

All Saudi Arabian military personnel in the US will have their training stopped until further notice after a member of the country's air force shot and killed three people last week at a base in Florida.

The Pentagon's decision will have far-reaching impacts on visiting Saudi personnel, including more than 300 Saudi military aviation students who have been grounded as part of a "safety stand-down"

The Pentagon said on Tuesday the move would also impact infantry personnel and all other Saudi training, other than classroom lessons. Such coursework, which includes English-language classes, will continue.

The FBI has said US investigators believe the Saudi air force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, acted alone when he attacked a US navy base in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, before he was fatally shot by a deputy sheriff.

“Given the traumatic events, we feel it is best to keep the Royal Saudi Air Force students off the flying schedule for a short time,” a US Air Force spokeswoman said.