In the wake of a horrific mass shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left three sailors dead and eight more injured, the Navy has ordered a temporary grounding for Saudi Arabian aviation students training at three Florida bases, service officials told Military.com.
A safety stand-down and operational pause began Monday for some 175 Saudi Arabian students at Naval Air Stations Pensacola, Whiting Field and Mayport, all in Florida, said Lt. Andriana Genualdi, a Navy spokesperson.
"Classroom training is expected to resume this week for those students," she added in a statement.
Following the Dec. 6 shooting by a Saudi second lieutenant in training at Pensacola, training was suspended for all personnel. Some commands have resumed training, Genualdi said, including those with international military students.
About 140 Saudi Arabian students are currently at Pensacola; the base is now training 272 students from international militaries in total.
The stand-down comes as the Navy and federal agencies continue to investigate the shooting. FBI officials have said the attack is being presumed an act of terrorism, citing a Twitter screed posted by the shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, that accused the U.S. of being anti-Muslim and attacked its support of Israel. Alshamrani was killed by a sheriff's deputy in a shooting exchange.
Officials have said all international students at Pensacola have been accounted for, and several Saudi students who knew the shooter well are cooperating with investigators.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
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