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Al-Qaeda in Yemen takes credit for deadly Florida naval-base shooting

The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Patrick Nichols)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has claimed responsibility for a fatal shooting in December at a U.S. naval base in Florida.

The Islamist militant group offered no evidence on February 2 it was tied to the attack in which an aviation student from the Saudi Air Force killed three people inside a classroom and wounded two police officers before one of them killed him. Eight others were also hurt.

“We congratulate our Muslim nation and embrace the operation of the martyr hero, the daring knight Muhammad bin Saeed al-Shamrani,” said the audio, released by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messages by militant groups, reported the claim.

RFE/RL was unable to verify the authenticity of the recording.

The 18-minute video indicated that Shamrani and AQAP were in communication, according to Rita Katz, director of SITE.

The Justice Department declared that the attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola on December 6 was an act of terrorism.

The U.S. military has since implemented new restrictions and controls on all foreign military students at U.S. bases.

“All current and future students will be required to acknowledge their willingness to abide by these standards, committing to full compliance with all U.S. laws on- and off-duty as a condition of their enrollment,” Garry Reid, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, said on January 17.