Victims of the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas that killed 13 people and wounded dozens more are outraged that the U.S. government refuses to classify it as an act of terrorism.
About 160 victims and their families released a video on Thursday describing the shooting — in which Army Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly opened fire on a room full of soldiers — and arguing why it should be classified as a terrorist attack.
Hasan, an American-born Muslim, is accused of killing 12 soldiers and a civilian on Nov. 5, 2009, at the post’s processing center. Soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Watch the Fort Hood victims' video. Story continues below.
The U.S. Department of Defense has ruled the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting a case of workplace violence.
In “The Truth About Fort Hood,” victims express their frustration at the government’s designation, Stars and Stripes reports.
They noted that Hasan consulted by email with top al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki about whether an attack against American soldiers was justified to “protect our brothers,” according to Stars and Stripes.
Awlaki, who was based in Yemen, was considered a top enemy by the US. He was killed in an airstrike last year.
For Hasan, the shooting “was his jihad,” Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford said in the video. He was shot five times in the incident.
Shawn Manning, another victim, said that the soldiers “were killed and wounded by a domestic enemy, someone who was there that day to kill soldiers to prevent them from deploying,” Stars and Stripes reports. “If that’s not an act of war or an act of terrorism, I don’t know what is.”
“We’re working pretty hard for our guys right now to get them the recognition and compensation they deserve,” Kathy Stalnaker said in the video. Her husband, Sgt. Rex Stalnaker, has severe post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident. “We want to keep it in front of the public.”
Classifying the shooting as terrorism will allow the victims to receive combat-related special compensation that provides disability pay for medically retired service members, Stars and Stripes reports. Manning, who was shot six times, was recently denied such benefits.
The victims also would be eligible for Purple Hearts and medals for valor, Stars and Stripes reports.
Meanwhile, a military appeals court judge has ruled that Hasan, who remains hospitalized from gunshot wounds received from two police officers who responded to the shooting, can have his beard forcibly shaved before trial.
The trial has been delayed for months over the issue of Hasan’s facial hair, which he said he grew for religious reasons.
But the judge this week sided with military court rules requiring defendants to appear in court in uniform and clean-shaven.
Attorneys for Hasan, who faces the death penalty, plan to appeal the ruling.
In the November 2009 shooting, dozens of others were wounded, and 12 remain hospitalized, Army Col. John Rossi told KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City on Thursday.
Witnesses said that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar" — Arabic for "Allah is Great" — before he fired.
In addition, President Barack Obama said he had ordered an immediate inventory and review of intelligence related to the shooting and to Hasan, KAUT reports.
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