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Navy halts training for about 300 Saudi military aviation students

This undated photo provided by the FBI shows Mohammed Alshamrani.

FBI/AP

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Navy has temporarily halted training for about 300 Saudi military aviation students at three Florida bases after the deadly shooting Friday by a Royal Saudi Air Force officer at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The “safety stand-down and operational pause” began Monday for Saudi aviation students at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Whiting Field and Naval Station Mayport.

The stand-down impacts 140 Saudi students at NAS Pensacola, 35 at NAS Whiting Field and 128 at NS Mayport, Lt. Andriana Genualdi, a Navy spokeswoman, said Tuesday.

Classroom training for those students is expected to restart sometime this week. Saudi students are currently not training in aircraft, Genualdi said, and there is no timeline on when that will resume.

Some of the training commands at NAS Pensacola have restarted training, including those with students from other countries, after it was suspended over the weekend. Capt. Timothy Kinsella, the commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said Friday that there about 200 foreign military students at the base.

The FBI identified the shooter at NAS Pensacola as Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21. He had been in the U.S. for naval aviation training. He killed three sailors and injured eight others before a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed him. Of the eight injured, five have been released from the hospital, according to a statement Monday from NAS Pensacola.

Kenney.Caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter @caitlinmkenney

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