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Saudi pilot who went on gun rampage at Florida naval base linked to ‘Al-Qaeda operative’

Saudi pilot who went on gun rampage at Florida naval base linked to ‘Al-Qaeda operative’
The FBI has found evidence linking the perpetrator of the December 2019 Pensacola naval airbase shooting, a trainee pilot of the Royal Saudi Air Force, to a suspected operative of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

The gun attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola left three victims dead and eight others injured. The gunman, Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was killed by responding police forces. The incident was a major embarrassment for both nations involved.

Attorney General William Barr announced on Monday that FBI investigators discovered evidence of "significant ties" to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula after finally unlocking Alshamrani’s iPhone.

Barr said FBI technicians cracked into the shooter's phone despite Apple declining to help, even after a direct plea from President Donald Trump.

FBI Director Christopher Wray added the connection between the shooter and Al-Qaeda is "more than just inspired" as evidence shows he was "sharing plans and tactics with" the terrorist group, as well as "coordinating" with them.

Also on rt.com Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting by Saudi student was act of terrorism motivated by jihadist ideology - AG Barr

The airman had been taking part in a three-year aviation training program for the Royal Saudi Air Force, for which he had signed up in August 2017. The 21-year-old was motivated by Islamist ideology when he unleashed violence at the Florida base, US officials said.

Prior to the shooting, he posted quotes from former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media, and criticized US wars. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an influential branch of the international terrorist network, claimed credit for the attack, but US officials did not previously confirm the link.

Also on rt.com ‘Step up to the plate!’ Trump says Apple won’t unlock devices used by ‘criminals & drug dealers’ in Pensacola shooter phone row

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