Sci-tech

FBI Connects Pensacola Gunman to al-Qaida

FBI Connects Pensacola Gunman to al-Qaida”

The Saudi military trainee who killed three U.S. sailors and wounded several others in a terror attack previous year on a military base in Pensacola, Florida, was in touch with a suspected al Qaeda operative, according to multiple United States officials briefed on the matter.

The Saudi military student who carried out a deadly shooting spree at a U.S. naval base previous year had communicated with an Al-Qaeda operative before the attack, USA media reported Monday.

"We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys", the company said in a January 14 statement after Attorney General William Barr criticized the company.

While the evidence points to communication with the Al Qaeda operative, the New York Times reports it is unclear whether the shooter was given orders by their contact.

Alshamrani opened fire on the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, killing three U.S. sailors and injuring eight other people. He had been undergoing flight training at Pensacola, where members of foreign militaries routinely receive instruction.

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The Justice Department had previously asked Apple to help extract data from two iPhones that belonged to the gunman, including one that authorities say Alshamrani damaged with a bullet after being confronted by law enforcement.

"We at the Federal Bureau of Investigation never forget that three courageous members of our armed forces were killed in this attack", Wray said.

In February, an audio recording purporting to be from the Islamist militant group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the fatal attack at the Pensacola, Florida, base in December that killed three people, but it provided no evidence. The branch, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has always been considered the global network's most risky branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the USA mainland.

However, in January, Saudi Arabia withdrew its remaining 21 cadets from the U.S. military training programme and brought them back to Saudi Arabia, after the Justice Department's investigation revealed that some of them had accessed child pornography or had social media accounts containing Islamic extremist or anti-American content.



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