US attorney general: Pensacola Navy base shooting 'act of terrorism'

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Monday that the shooting by a Saudi pilot at a Navy base in Pensacola, southeastern state Florida, in December was "an act of terrorism."

The evidence shows that the shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani of the Royal Saudi Air Force, was motivated by the "jihadist ideology," said Barr at a press conference on the findings of the investigation into the shooting on Dec. 6, 2019 at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave complete and total support for our counter-terrorism investigation, and ordered all Saudi trainees to fully cooperate," said Barr, adding that as many as 21 Saudi cadets involving derogatory information have been dis-enrolled from their training curriculum in the U.S. military and will be returning to Saudi Arabia later on Monday.

However, there was no evidence of assistance or pre-knowledge of the attack by other members of the Saudi military or any other foreign nationals who are training in the United States, said Barr.

The U.S. investigators found Alshamrani posted a message on social media on Sept. 11 of last year that said: "the countdown has begun." The shooter visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City in late November and posted other anti-American, anti-Israeli, and jihadi messages on social media even hours before his attack at the naval base.

During the attack which lasted about 15 minutes, Alshamrani killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans. He died after exchanging gunfire with sheriff's deputies who responded to the shooting.

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