Tags: Al-Qaida | pensacola shooting | saudi arabia

FBI Connects Pensacola Gunman to al-Qaida

an air force team moves the remains of a sailor killed in a december 2018 shooting at naval air station pensacola
An Air Force team moves the remains of a sailor killed in a December 2018 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (Cliff Owen/AP)

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2020 10:53 AM

FBI officials linked al-Qaida to a deadly shooting that took place at a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year, The New York Times reports.

Two officials briefed on the investigation told the newspaper that the gunman, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force cadet training with the American military, had connected with an al-Qaida operative who encouraged the attacks.

Federal agents discovered the connection after they were able to bypass security features on at least one of the gunman's iPhones without help from Apple, the officials told the Times.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to publicly discuss the discovery during an 11 a.m. news conference on Monday.

It isn't clear whether the al-Qaida operative instructed Alshamrani to carry out the December shooting, which killed three sailors and wounded eight people. Alshamrani died in a shootout with police during the incident.

Alshamrani was in touch over time with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), including its leadership up until the attack, according to one of the officials.

The official said the gunman's ties to the group went beyond watching YouTube videos or reading extremist propaganda.

Several weeks after the shooting, Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of AQAP, announced his group directed Alshamrani to conduct the shooting.

During the shooting, Alshamrani fired at his iPhone. He was found with a second damaged phone, which led investigators to believe there was important information on the devices.

In January, Apple refused to give law enforcement access to the phones. It is unknown how authorities were able to tap into the cellphone.

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FBI officials linked al-Qaida to a deadly shooting that took place at a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year, The New York Times reports.
pensacola shooting, saudi arabia
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2020-53-18
Monday, 18 May 2020 10:53 AM
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