US to expel a dozen Saudi trainees after base killings probe

The US is set to expel at least a dozen Saudi military students accused of links to militant groups and having possession of child pornography following an investigation into a shooting rampage by a Saudi officer in Florida, media reported on Saturday.

On 6 December, Mohammed Alshamrani, who was in the United States as part of a Saudi military training programme, opened fire in a classroom at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, killing three sailors and wounding eight other people before being shot dead by police.

While the dozen or more trainees are not accused of aiding Alshamrani, some were found to have connections to militant movements or be in possession of child pornography, CNN reported.

“In the wake of the Pensacola tragedy, the Department of Defense restricted to classroom training programs foreign military students from Saudi Arabia while we conducted a review and enhancement of our foreign student vetting procedures,” said Lt Col Robert Carver, a spokesman for the Department of Defense.

“That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures.”

The investigation, which was carried out by the FBI, also found that several had not reported the assailant’s disturbing behaviour before the attack, according to the Washington Post.