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Saudi Military Students Expelled from U.S. after Shooting at Florida Base

The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy arrives for exercises at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, U.S. (Patrick Nichols/Reuters)

A group of more than a dozen Saudi military students will be expelled from the U.S. following the deadly shooting in December at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

On December 6, Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire at the base, killing three people and injuring six before deputies killed him. The Navy subsequently suspended flight instruction for all Saudi students at the base pending the results of an investigation. Alshamrani was found to have made anti-American statements on social media.

The students to be expelled did not aide Alshamrani in the attack, according to CNN, however some of them may have connections to extremist groups. Other students are suspected of possession of child pornography.

“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,” commented Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver, a spokesman for the Department of Defense. “That training pause is still in place while we implement new screening and security measures.”

There are around 850 Saudi military students in the U.S., with about a dozen at the Pensacola base. The report did not indicate if the expelled students were all based in Pensacola or from different parts of the country.

One official told CNN that the Justice Department will likely conclude that the shooting was an act of terrorism.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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