The FBI has found that the Saudi military man who was studying at the Pensacola (Florida) base, who opened fire in one of the classrooms on December 6 and killed three American colleagues, was linked to Al Qaeda. This was announced yesterday at a press conference by Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray.
2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi Arabian Air Force, was undergoing training at the Pensacola base. The investigation has determined that this soldier was in contact with an operational member of the terrorist organization. This conclusion has been corroborated by being able to open the iPhone of Alshamrani, who died in the exchange of fire with the police.
The FBI established the link after opening the iPhone of the Saudi pilot who killed three US colleagues.
The Justice Department criticized Apple after this event, because it refused to unlock the device. Investigators found two Alshamrani cell phones. The shooter tried to destroy one of these devices with bullets before it fell down.
Suspicions about his criminal activities began to grow when he learned that he had posted messages on social media a couple of hours before the killing. “The countdown has started,” he said, targeting the United States and Israel, whom he blamed for the deaths of people who profess Islam and the suffering of the Palestinians.
From the beginning, the authorities considered this attack as a terrorist act. The al-Qaeda faction in the Arabian Peninsula distributed an audio recording last February in which it was claimed that the Saudi pilot carried out that attack in compliance with the orders given to him.
Five days after that recording emerged, the White House announced that the leader of that group, Qassim al-Rimi, had died in an operation launched in Yemen.
Alshamrani’s arrival in Pensacola came after passing tests carried out in his country and in the United States before authorizing his studies. Everything indicates that neither of them had the ability to detect their radicalization.