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Saudi embassy reiterates condolences for Dec US Navy base shootings, welcomes FBI findings of Al Qaeda ties

Mohammed Alshamrani, the Saudi gunman who opened fire on Dec. 6, 2019 inside a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola on before one of the deputies killed him. (FBI/Released) | The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Patrick Nichols)

Saudi Arabia’s embassy to the United States has reiterated its condolences to Americans over the loss of life during the Florida naval base gun attack that took place on Dec. 6, 2019.

Members of the FBI cracked the iPhone encryption of the Royal Saudi Air Force trainee who killed three American sailors in a December attack at a naval base in Florida, and found evidence linking him to Al-Qaeda, Attorney General William Barr said on Monday.

“The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterates its sincerest condolences to the Amercian people on the tragedy that unfolded in December at Pensacola, Florida and welcomes the announcement by US authorities of the recovery of critical intelligence from the assailant’s telephones,” an embassy statement read.

The shooter, Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, also wounded eight people before being killed by law enforcement during the Dec. 6, 2019, attack. He was on the base as part of a US Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.

“Saudi Arabia has fully cooperated with US law enforcement on the investigation, and we are continuing to provide full support to our American counterparts,” the statement from the embassy said.

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On the discovery of the Al-Qaeda link, the embassy said that “terrorists” had attacked their citizens and military personnel in “Islam’s holiest sites” in Mecca and Medina.

“This is why the Kingdom has been so committed to the restoration of security and stability in Yemen, where AQAP is based,” the statement read in reference to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“We are determined not to let Yemen become another haven for global terrorist organizations, and we have worked closely with the United States to keep AQAP and ISIS on the run,” the statement added, stating that last June, Saudi forces captured Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, Daesh leader in Yemen, in a raid in eastern part of the country.

The US provides military training to Saudi soldiers, pilots and sailors. Approximately 28,000 Saudis have undergone military training in the US over the course of several decades.

“US-Saudi partnership is one of the primary pillars of the global effort to dismantle and defeat terrorist,” the embassy said, adding that they have been coordinating with the US to “better protect American and Saudi citizens from terrorist threats.”

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© 2020 the Arab News