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Pensacola Air Force shooting victims accuse Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of helping to facilitate attack

The households of three slain U.S. service members and the 13 different victims severely wounded throughout a mass shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2019 are suing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, alleging that the Saudi authorities helped facilitate the attack. 

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The 158-page criticism, filed in federal court in Pensacola on Monday, claims the shooter, Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) 2nd Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Al-Shamrani, had fellow Saudi army trainees as “accomplices” to help him in finishing up the attack. 

“In the eyes of the American people, there is no greater betrayal than the realization that a purported ally is, in fact, an enemy,” the criticism states.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages for an attack the households say was brought on by Saudia Arabia and its “intentional, knowing, reckless, willful and/or grossly negligent” act to ship a terrorist operative “Trojan horse” right into a U.S. program tied to “billions of dollars in military arms sales from the United States to the Kingdom.”

“Little did the American people know that such an arrangement would soon devolve into a horrific, Faustian bargain,” the criticism provides. 

In Janaury 2020, former Attorney General William Barr mentioned the incident was an act of terrorism, with the FBI concluding Al-Shamrani was motivated by “jihadist ideology”

Al-Shamrani, who was killed by responding sheriff’s deputies, labored with Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for 5 years to plan the Dec. 6, 2019, attack, U.S. authorities mentioned in May after de-encrypting his telephone.

Senior legislation enforcement officers beforehand instructed Fox News the attack lasted quarter-hour and that Al-Shamrani used a Glock 9mm that had 5 prolonged magazines. The gun, they added, was bought legally in Florida. 

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According to the criticism, Al-Shamrani introduced on his social media, which was monitored by the Kingdom of Sauid Arabia and AQAP, on Sept. 11, 2019, that the “countdown had begun,” and despatched a replica of his will later that month to AQAP, which the victims’ households say is “evidence that he communicated directly with the group in the days prior to the attack.”

The NAS Pensacola shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command. (FBI)

The NAS Pensacola shooter was recognized as Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old 2nd lieutenant within the Royal Saudi Air Force who was a pupil naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command. (FBI)

Al-Shamrani then went with a gaggle of Royal Saudi Air Force trainees to go to the 9/11 memorial  in New York City in November 2019, in accordance to the swimsuit, which was not licensed or sanctioned and in violation of U.S. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia coverage.

“Al-Shamrani and his travel companions failed to notify any senior officer of their plans or their departure from Pensacola to New York, even though Al-Shamrani and the other Saudi officers were aware of the leave protocols,” the criticism states. “Despite Saudi Arabia’s surveillance on their cellphones, it did nothing to address this unauthorized trip by its students.”

During the go to, the RSAF trainees allegedly paid tribute to the 9/11 hijackers and mentioned the plans for the NAS terrorist attack. In addition, on Dec. 5, 2019, the evening earlier than the attack, Al-Shamrani allegedly hosted a cocktail party for fellow RSAF trainees, through which he screened movies of mass shootings and mentioned his plan to commit the NAS terrorist attack the next day.

The criticism notes that one of the RSAD trainees who attended the celebration referred to as in sick the morning of the shooting and, as an alternative of attending flight coaching, stood outdoors the constructing the place the incident occurred and recorded the shooting on his cellphone. Meanwhile, two different RSAF trainees who attended the banquet allegedly referred to as in sick and watched the attack from a automotive close by.

“None of the Royal Saudi Air Force trainees at the scene of the attack reported Al-Shamrani’s behavior nor did they try to stop the NAS terrorist attack,” the criticism additional alleges. “Because they supported it.”

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An investigation into the shooting resulted within the termination of 21 Saudi army trainees from this system who had been despatched again to Saudi Arabia for possessing “derogatory material.” 

The criticism notes that 17 of the trainees had social media accounts linked to “anti-American or jihadi content” whereas 15 of them, together with some of the 17 linked to anti-American content material, had “other illicit material in their possession.”

“That so many Saudi military trainees were, at a minimum, sympathetic to AQAP, and that several more were actually accomplices to the NAS terrorist attack demonstrates the military trainees’ belief that their support and/or sympathy of Salafi jihadism were in furtherance of KSA political and religious goals,” the criticism states. 

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The households declare that Al-Shamrani’s “intentional acts were a direct outgrowth of conduct that was within the scope of Al-Shamrani’s employment as an RSAF officer.”

“If not for his employment with RSAF, Al-Shamrani would not have had access to his victims, nor the knowledge, training, skill, opportunity and capability required to successfully plan and commit the attack,” the lawsuit says.

In addition, they argue that Saudi Arabia “knew or had reason to know that Al-Shamrani was an AQAP associate, and had been in contact with AQAP and held anti-American and Salafi jihadist sentiments.”

“Despite this, Saudi Arabia permitted Al-Shamrani to join the RSAF, and harbored 2nd Lt Al-Shamrani within the ranks of the RSAF and in RSAF housing in Saudi Arabia and in the United States,” the lawsuit continues. “Saudi Arabia failed to report or disclose 2nd Lt Al-Shamrani’s association with AQAP or his extremist views, and thereby concealed him from detection, enabling him to plan and commit the NAS attack.”

Following the attack, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his son, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, instructed former President Donald Trump that Saudi Arabia can be concerned in “taking care of [the victims’] families and loved ones.”

However, the lawsuit argues that, to date, the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia has refused to honor its phrase or interact with those that had been injured and the households of the service members who had been killed.

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The plaintiffs of the lawsuit embrace the households of the three victims killed in the NAS Pensacola shooting: Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, of Enterprise, Ala.; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Ga.

“I will never forget how Cameron was transformed once he graduated just weeks before the attack – so proud of his uniform and ready to serve,” Cameron Walters’ father, Shane Walters, mentioned in a press release. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia let this happen. While the prior White House administration refused to even call me, this one must do its part to stop coddling the Saudi regime and hold them accountable.” 

“Nothing is going to bring back Mohammed, who was full of life and cared deeply about his family and country,” Evelyn Brady, Mohammed Sameh Haitham’s mom, added. “But I have to do something to remember him, and holding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable is part of that.” 

“We were robbed of such a precious gift, snuffed out in a moment from hatred and bitterness,” Joshua Kaleb Watson’s father, Benjamin Watson, mentioned. “Our family lost a lot, and our country lost a lot.” 

In addition, 4 Navy service members, a Navy civil servant, seven sheriff’s deputies and a Department of Defense police officer wounded within the attack have additionally joined the swimsuit. 

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