Federal Bureau of Investigation says US Navy base shooting was act of terror

The shooting in Pensacola Florida by a Saudi gunman marks a setback in the kingdom's efforts to shrug off its longstanding reputation for exporting religious extremism

The Saudi airman accused of killing three people at a US Navy base in Florida appeared to have posted criticism of US wars and quoted slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on social media hours before the shooting spree, according to a group that tracks online extremism.

Rachel Rojas, the Special Agent leading the investigation, said officials were trying to examine the motive which drove Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi trainee military pilot, to open fire, killing three U.S. navy sailors and injuring eight others, before being shot dead by police. Esper said one or two of those friends recorded the attack.

The FBI has yet to announce a motive for the gunman, who was shot and killed on scene by a sheriff's deputy.

Investigators also believe the gunman visited New York City, including Rockefeller Center, days before the shooting and are working to determine the objective of the trip, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The Navy has confirmed that all global students at the Pensacola base are accounted for, the investigator said.

Three other Saudi nationals were said to have been at the dinner, which took place earlier in the week, prior to the attack, sources close to the investigation told AP.

Other Saudi students who are on the same course have been restricted to base at the Naval Air Station on the instructions of their commanding officer and were co-operating with the investigation.

No arrests have been made, Rojas said. She said that a lot of information needs to be confirmed by investigators and that she did not want to contribute to "misinformation" circulating about the case.

But while Wednesday's shooting in Hawaii was related to a domestic issue, the attack on Friday became worldwide incident after it was reported the suspect was a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The defense secretary, Mark Esper, said he has instructed the USA armed forces to review both security at military bases and screening for foreign soldiers who come to the U.S. for training.

"A large number of Saudi graduates of the Naval Air Station in Pensacola moved on to serve with their U.S. counterparts in battlefronts around the world, helping to safeguard the regional and global security". Two responding deputies who engaged the suspect were shot but they are expected to fully recover, authorities said.

Authorities are still searching for a motive for the rampage which also injured eight others.

"If there are Saudis that we do not have - that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, execution, or finance of this - that we expect Saudi intelligence to work with our government", Gaetz said.

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The lawmaker said the ambassador assured him that full cooperation would be provided. Khashoggi was a critic of Saudi Arabia.

"This has been done for many decades", Trump said on Saturday.

Trump's response to the shooting has been conspicuously restrained.

With the Pentagon and the White House being tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the attack, anonymous United States officials have spilled the beans on what preceded the shooting spree.

Police cars escort an ambulance after a shooter open fire inside the Pensacola Air Base.

Trump had called for the program to be reviewed but Sen.

Twelve minutes before, at 6:39 a.m., a Twitter account with the handle @M7MD_SHAMRANI posted a message addressed to the American people, declaring hate for Americans due to their "crimes" against Muslims.

"You realize in that moment that you are witnessing loss of life and hatred, but there was also heroism", Simmons said.

The shooting occurred in one of the classrooms on the compound, which serves as a training base.

A former US military official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss military affairs, said the program that would have brought al-Shamrani to the air base is a formal military exchange, "and part of broader training agreements between the USA and allied countries".

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani was a Saudi aviator training at the USA naval station.

Citing a person briefed on the investigation, the New York Times reported that friends and colleagues thought the gunman, a Muslim, had become more religious after returning to the us this February. He visited Saudi Arabia on school breaks, the Times reported.

The victims of the attack have been named as Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, and Cameron Scott Walters, 21.

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