Pensacola attack: US to review screening of foreign military

Airman Mohammad Sameh Haitham (left) and ensign Joshua Kaleb WatsonImage copyright
US Navy

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Mohammad Sameh Haitham and Joshua Kaleb Watson had been two of three young sailors killed

US Defence Secretary Label Esper has ordered a review of the screening process for foreign protection force in the US after a Saudi soldier launched a lethal attack at a Florida navy nasty.

The gunman – who coaching on the Pensacola negate – killed three sailors on Friday.

Mr Esper suggested Fox News Sunday he had suggested top defence officers to learn about into safety features at bases.

President Donald Trump has moreover pledged to learn about foreign protection force programmes.

The victims of the attack had been named as Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, and Cameron Scott Walters, 21.

The US Navy acknowledged the sailors “showed great heroism and bravado in the face of substandard”.

Who has been detained?

Several Saudi trainees enjoy reportedly been held for questioning, though to this level there has been no claim that they had been inquisitive about the attack.

The attacker, Mohammed Alshamrani, turned into shot dumb at some level of the attack.

Alshamrani had performed mass-shooting movies to others at a dinner earlier in the week, plenty of US media outlets record, quoting an anonymous expert briefed on the investigation.

A Twitter user performing to examine Alshamrani’s identity had moreover made a series of anti-US posts sooner than the shooting, an on-line monitoring community says.

Talking to Fox News Sunday, Mr Esper confirmed studies that one or two of the detained Saudis filmed the attack. “What is unclear is – had been they had been filming it sooner than it started or turned into it something the save they picked up their telephones after they seen it unfolding?” he acknowledged.

He previously acknowledged he would no longer mark the incident “terrorism” whereas the investigation turned into in its early phases.

Why had been Saudis on the US nasty?

The Pensacola nasty has long supplied aviation coaching to foreign protection force forces.

Saudi pilots started coaching there in 1995, alongside completely different personnel from Italy, Singapore and Germany.

Cpt Kinsella Jnr acknowledged that about 200 world college students had been enrolled in programmes there. Per its web negate, the nasty employs better than sixteen,000 protection force and seven,Four hundred civilian personnel.

Alshamrani turned into a 2nd lieutenant in the Saudi Air Power.

Image copyright

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The gunman has been formally named as Mohammed Alshamrani by the FBI

What took negate on Friday?

Authorities had been alerted to the shooting on the Pensacola nasty at 06:Fifty one (eleven:Fifty one GMT).

It took negate at some level of two floors of a lecture room building and ended when a sheriff’s deputy killed Alshamrani.

Eight folks had been moreover injured in the shooting, together with two officers, who are expected to enhance.

Household of Joshua Kaleb Watson acknowledged he turned into shot plenty of times nonetheless made it out of the building to alert first responders.

On Fb, his brother Adam Watson wrote: “He died a hero and we are beyond proud nonetheless there’s a gap in our hearts that can by no design be filled.”

Capt Tim Kinsella, the nasty’s commanding officer, acknowledged of the three sailors killed: “When confronted, they did now not chase from risk; they ran in the direction of it and saved lives.”

Saudi Arabia is a key US ally in the Center East and President Trump acknowledged the Saudi king known as him after the attack to “remark his precise condolences and gives his sympathies to the households and friends of the infantrymen who had been killed”.

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Media captionFlorida governor: ‘The Saudi authorities will owe a debt right here’

Questions over the US-Saudi relationship

Merely as he did in the wake of the abolish of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul, President Trump is seeking to diminish the significance of the Pensacola shooting.

For a president who largely sees foreign policy in transactional terms, Saudi Arabia is a gargantuan customer for the US. Billions of greenbacks in weapons gross sales interprets into better than 5,500 non eternal visas being issued to the Saudi protection force to solution to the US. Saudi personnel design up about sixteen% of the foreign personnel being educated at US protection force colleges and completely different providers and products. The Pensacola shooting is already raising questions about the vetting of these folks.

However extra broadly it all over but again highlights the long-standing relationship between Washington and Riyadh – a relationship that many critics in Congress check as an increasing form of uncertain in the wake of the Khashoggi abolish and the Saudi protection force onslaught in Yemen.