Alwaght- The US defense ministry halted on Tuesday operational training of all Saudi Arabian military personnel in the US until further notice after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a base in Florida.
The decision will have far-reaching impacts on visiting Saudi personnel, including grounding more than 300 Saudi Arabian military aviation students as part of a “safety stand-down,” Reuters reported.
The Pentagon said the move would also affect infantry personnel and all other Saudi training, other than classroom training. Such coursework, which includes English-language classes, will continue.
A senior US defense official, briefing Pentagon reporters on the decision, said the move was intended to allow for a broader review of security procedures that would eventually apply to all of some 5,000 international military students in the US.
The FBI has said U.S. investigators believe Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21, acted alone when he attacked a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, before he was fatally shot by a deputy sheriff.
The shootings have again raised questions about the U.S. military cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which has come under heightened scrutiny in Congress over aggression on Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.