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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pentagon Halts Operational Training for Saudi Military Students

By VOA News December 10, 2019

The Pentagon on Tuesday suspended nonclassroom training for all Saudi Arabian students in U.S. military programs in response to the deadly shooting by a Saudi national at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last week.

The decision will affect nearly 900 Saudis studying at military facilities across the country. About 300 Saudis studying in Pensacola and two other Naval bases in Florida were suspended earlier Tuesday by the Navy. The students will continue to attend classes.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist also ordered a review of the vetting process for all international students enrolled at U.S. military facilities. More than 5,000 international military students are in the United States.

Norquist asked that the review be completed within 10 days. The suspension will remain in place until it is completed.

The order comes as the FBI on Tuesday revealed that the gunman, Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force had legally purchased the Glock 9mm handgun after obtaining a state hunting license.

Alshamrani opened fire in a classroom at the naval base Friday, killing three U.S. sailors and wounding eight others before he was killed by police.

A valid hunting license is one of the exceptions to the federal law that bars anyone traveling to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa to own weapons or ammunition.

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