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Terror Group Claims Deadly Florida Naval Base Shooting

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula releases video claiming the attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2020 4:10 PM CST
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In a Dec. 8, 2019 file photo, an Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Ensign Joshua Watson, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen claimed responsibility Sunday for last year's deadly shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola by an aviation student from Saudi Arabia, the AP reports. The shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was a member of the Saudi Air Force in training at the base. He opened fire inside a classroom at the base on Dec. 6, killing three people and wounding two sheriff’s deputies before one of the deputies killed him. Eight others were also hurt. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released a video claiming the attack. SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups, reported the claim.

AQAP has long been considered the global network’s most dangerous branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the US mainland. The 18-minute video did not provide evidence of training the shooter, but did indicate that Alshamrani and AQAP were in communication, said Rita Katz, director of SITE. It was not clear when the video was recorded. The video claimed that Alshamrani had been planning for years to attack a U.S. base, and had been training and “selecting” targets. The video, which was viewed by the AP, provided a will written by Alshamrani to his family in September 2019, three months prior to attack. He said he wanted to attack the U.S., citing religious reasons. However, he made no mention of al-Qaeda.

(Read more terrorist attack stories.)

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