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Al-Qaida in Yemen claims responsibility for NAS Pensacola shooting

Posted at 1:59 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 14:15:47-05

CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen released a video claiming responsibility for last year’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

According to the Associated Press, the shooter, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, was a member of the Saudi Air Force in training at the base.

He opened fire inside a classroom at the base on Dec. 6, killing three people and wounding two sheriff’s deputies before one of the deputies killed him.

Eight others were also hurt during the shooting.

On Sunday, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released a video claiming the attack.

AP reports that a SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups, reported the claim.

The 18-minute video did not provide evidence of training the shooter, but did indicate that Alshamrani and AQAP were in communication, said Rita Katz, director of SITE. It was not clear when the video was recorded.

The video claimed that Alshamrani had been planning for years to attack a U.S. base, and had been training and “selecting” targets.

The video, which was viewed by AP, provided a will written by Alshamrani to his family in September 2019, three months prior to attack.

He said he wanted to attack the U.S., citing religious reasons. However, he made no mention of al-Qaida.

AP says the video included audio from top AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi claiming “full responsibility” for the attack by Alshamrani, calling him “the hero, the courageous knight.”

Just last week, a suspected U.S. drone strike destroyed a building housing al-Qaida militants in eastern Yemen.

President Donald Trump retweeted several tweets and media reports that AP says seemed to offer confirmation the strike killed al-Rimi.