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US grounds nearly 175 Saudi military students after deadly shooting

Nearly 175 Saudi Arabian military aviation students have been grounded in the aftermath of a deadly shooting by a Saudi Air Force lieutenant at a US Navy base in Florida last week.

US officials told Reuters on Tuesday that the move was part of a “safety stand-down.”

“A safety stand-down and operational pause commenced Monday for Saudi Arabian aviation students,” said Lieutenant Andriana Genualdi, a Navy spokeswoman

Other US officials appeared to similarly sugarcoat the grounding that included three different military facilities: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Whiting Field and Naval Air Station Mayport.

There are reportedly about 850 Saudi students in the United States for military training.

Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, second lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian military, killed three Americans and injured some others at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida Friday.

The Trump administration has been vocal in its support for Riyadh in the wake of the deadly attack.

“Saudi Arabia is a longstanding partner of ours in the region. We share mutual security interests,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, assuring Riyadh that the October deployment would go as planned despite the loss of American lives in the attack.

Shamrani had reportedly quoted slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Twitter.