Navy Grounds 175 Saudi Aviation Students Following Pensacola Shooting

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A general view of the Pensacola Naval Air Station main gate following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida. (Josh Brasted/Getty Images)
A general view of the Pensacola Naval Air Station main gate following a shooting on December 06, 2019 in Pensacola, Florida. (Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

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.

Related: Marines, Sailors Line Road to Salute Family of Officer Killed in Pensacola Shootings

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 hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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