Disturbed radicalized Florida shooter acted alone: Saudi Embassy

21 Saudi cadets leave US military training program

A general view of the atmosphere at the Pensacola Naval Air Station main gate following a shooting on Friday in Pensacola, Florida. The second shooting on a US Naval Base in a week has left three dead plus the suspect and seven people wounded. — AFP

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia stressed that the disturbed and radicalized individual who carried out the terrible attack at Pensacola Naval Air Station on Dec. 6, 2019 acted alone.

The official spokesperson of Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Washington made these remarks on Monday following the conclusion of the investigation by US law enforcement authorities into the shooting incident at Pensacola Naval Air Station involving a Royal Saudi Air Force cadet.

The spokesperson said the attacker does not represent thousands of Saudis who lived, studied and trained in the US over the past several decades, nor does his heinous act represent the values of Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi Arabia has fully cooperated with American investigators looking into the motives of the attacker and will continue to cooperate with US authorities should they require additional information,” the spokesperson added.

The Kingdom has also determined that 21 cadets have demonstrated conduct unbecoming of an officer in the Saudi Royal Air Force or Royal Navy and therefore have been discharged from their training program in the US military. "They will be returning to the Kingdom,” the spokesperson said.

The military training that the US provides to Saudi military personnel has enabled Saudi soldiers, pilots and sailors to fight along their American counterparts and against our common foes.

The close cooperation between the two nations on intelligence matters and issues related to counter terrorism has saved the lives of many in the US, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere and has made the world a safer place.

"Approximately 28,000 Saudis have undergone military training in the US over the course of several decades without incident,” he said.

The spokesperson pointed out that the Kingdom has used every means at its disposal to counter the men, mindset and money that allow Al Qaeda, Daesh (so-called IS) and other terrorist groups to recruit followers and to threaten communities and even entire nations.

In addition, the terrorists who have struck the US and many other nations have also targeted Saudi Arabia’s people, leadership, military personnel and even our holiest religious complexes in Makkah and Madinah on multiple occasions.

The spokesperson said, "Close to a million Saudis have come to the US for their education, training and other reasons over several decades."

The overwhelming majority of them are law-abiding citizens who view themselves as unofficial ambassadors of the Kingdom. Many consider the United States as a second home and treat their American colleagues, classmates and neighbors as an extended part of their family.

Thousands of Saudis took to the social media to condemn the attacker and to extend their condolences to Americans, as did Saudi officials. — SG