Four dead, including shooter, in gunfire at Florida naval base

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Emergency responders at the Naval Air Base Station Pensacola, Florida, where the US Navy has confirmed that an active shooter and three other people are dead. (AP Photo)
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The Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida where an active shooter was reported. (AFP)
Updated 07 December 2019

Four dead, including shooter, in gunfire at Florida naval base

  • At least 12 people were taken to hospitals in the Pensacola area
  • NAS Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel

PENSACOLA: An aviation student from Saudi Arabia opened fire in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola on Friday morning, a US official said, an attack that left three dead in addition to the assailant.
The assault was the second at a US Navy base this week and prompted a massive law enforcement response and a lockdown at the base.
The student, who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy, was a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force, said the US official. 
Base commander Capt. Tim Kinsella confirmed at a news conference that the shooter was an aviation trainee at the base. 
Twelve people were hurt in the attack, including two sheriff’s deputies who were the first to respond, one of whom killed the shooter, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said. One of the deputies was shot in the arm and the other in the knee, and both were expected to recover, he said.
All of the shooting took place in one classroom and the shooter used a handgun, authorities said. Kinsella noted that weapons are not allowed on the base.
The base remained closed until further notice and those still there would be evacuated when authorities decided it was safe to do so, Kinsella said.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims and noted that he had received a phone call from Saudi King Salman. He said the king told him that “the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.”

King Salman has also ordered Saudi security services to cooperate with the relevant American agencies to obtain information that would help to uncover the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident.
One of the Navy’s most historic and storied bases, Naval Air Station sprawls along the waterfront southwest of downtown Pensacola and dominates the economy of the surrounding area.
Part of the Pensacola base resembles a college campus, with buildings where 60,000 members of the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard receive training each year in multiple fields of aviation. The base’s training program includes a couple of hundred from countries outside the US, Kinsella said.
The base is home is home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, and includes the National Naval Aviation Museum, a popular regional tourist attraction.
The shooting is the second at a US naval base this week. A sailor whose submarine was docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, opened fire on three civilian employees Wednesday, killing two before taking his own life.


France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

Updated 19 September 2020

France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

  • Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members

JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc considers employing if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state.”

“But we consider that the union should also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, among them one of sanctions, if the situation didn’t evolve positively,” Beaune said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution has called for sanctions against Turkey unless it showed “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” in defusing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “This is not ‘country X against country Y,’ it is the aggregated view of the European Parliament,” he told Arab News.

EU leaders are set to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus insist are only theirs to explore.

Turkey triggered a naval stand-off with NATO ally Greece after dispatching a warship-escorted research vessel in a part of the eastern Mediterranean that Greece says is over its continental shelf. Greece deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also holding talks at NATO headquarters to work out ways of ensuring that any standoff at sea doesn’t descend into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its survey ship and warship escorts was a positive step, but that Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said a list of sanctions will be put before EU leaders at next week’s summit and whether they’ll be implemented will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I’m hoping that it won’t become necessary to reach that point,” Dendias said.

Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a “double standard” by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud and police brutality while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP.