Families of victims who were shot dead in 2019 by Saudi Lieutenant Muhammad Al-Shamrani at a military base in Florida, USA, have filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.
An assumed responsibility for Saudi Arabia
The Saudi lawsuit accuses the presumed responsibility for the armed attack that took place at the military base two years ago.
The attorneys explained that their clients consider it not possible that the kingdom did not know that Muhammad al-Shamrani was an extremist.
The 21-year-old trained officer fired a pistol on US military personnel on December 6. During a semester at the US Naval Base in Pensacola.
The accident killed three Prime Time Zone and injured eight others, before he was shot dead by police.
The Royal Saudi Air Force
The lawyers said in a statement that Al-Shamrani was supposed to undergo a thorough investigation when he joined the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The lawyers added: “At that time, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was aware of his extremism and his anti-Americanism, feelings that were publicly expressed. On an account in his name on Twitter ”.
The statement added that after joining the army in 2015, Al-Shamrani regularly promoted on social media a “radical fundamentalist ideology.”
The statement pointed out that this account was followed by Saudi citizens, members of the government and members of the air force. And that they “read and commented on the extremist messages” that this soldier posted.
In their statement, the lawyers stressed that this officer, despite his letters, was chosen from among hundreds of students of the Military Academy. To obtain a scholarship to participate in a training course in the United States and “his candidacy has been sent to the chain of command” at the Saudi Ministry of Defense.
King Salman and his son broke the promise
The lawyers also considered that King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “refused to fulfill their promise” to the families of the victims. After then-President Donald Trump reassured these families that they would “care” for them.
The kingdom, Washington’s close ally, was quick to distance itself from Al-Shamrani, affirming its condemnation of the “heinous crime” he committed.
However, the FBI concluded that the Saudi military had become extremist since at least 2015 and that his attack. It was “the result of years of planning and preparation”.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
The attack was claimed by the “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” organization, which remained in contact with Al-Shamrani on the eve of the attack.
For some experts, that attack was the first to be carried out closely with Al Qaeda on American soil. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
After the attack, the United States expelled from its territory 21 Saudi soldiers, a trainee, after an investigation revealed that they had been posted on social networks. “Offensive content” or “jihadist or anti-American.” Or they were found in possession of pornographic material involving the sexual exploitation of children.
At the time, a group monitoring extremist content online said the Saudi pilot appeared to have posted a criticism of the United States’ wars.
She explained that he had transmitted a quote by the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on a social media site hours before he carried out the attack.
It is also reported that he showed video clips of indiscriminate killings or mass killings on the eve of the attack during a dinner party.
Federal investigators did not reveal any motive behind the attack when the Saudi trainee was said to have begun firing a pistol. Inside a classroom at the United States Navy Pensacola Air Force Base.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at the time that he was not prepared to consider the attack a “terrorist act.”
The authorities confirmed that the suspect was a member of the Saudi Royal Air Force and was present at the base as part of military training aimed at supporting the Allied forces.
In a press release, the FBI said that the suspect was Second Lieutenant Muhammad Saeed Al-Shamrani (21 years old).
Recordings of random shooting
US media reports, citing a source familiar with the investigation, stated that the Saudi pilot had seen video recordings of random shooting incidents. During his dinner with other Saudi airline students the days before.
The New York Times quoted a US official as saying that investigators found no indication that Al-Shamrani was linked to groups. International terrorist and they believe he turned to extremism on his own.
The New York Times said he entered the United States for the first time last year, then returned to Saudi Arabia and entered the United States again in February. He joined Al Qaeda training about three days before the attack.
The New York Times quoted a source familiar with the early stages of the investigation, without naming him, as saying that the investigation was underway in Florida. Along with six other Saudis, three of them were seen filming the incident.
The “New York Times”, quoting a senior American official, indicated that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the shooter had no clear “terrorist” ties.
“Given that the Islamic State does not have much to lose at this point, it would not be surprising if it undertook the attack, regardless of the attacker’s potential loyalty,” SITE director Rita Katz said in a tweet.
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