After base shooting, Pentagon restricts foreign trainee access to guns

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[January 18, 2020]    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon announced on Friday new restrictions on international military students' access to guns on U.S. bases, as well as other measures, after a Saudi officer killed three U.S. sailors at a Florida naval base last month.

Traffic on and off base is restricted after a member of the Saudi Air Force visiting the United States for military training was the suspect in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger

"Getting back to work does not mean getting back to business as usual. Going forward we will put several new policies and security procedures in place," Garry Reid, a senior Pentagon intelligence official, said in a statement.

Three U.S. sailors were killed and eight other people were wounded in the attack at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. A deputy sheriff shot dead the gunman, Saudi Air Force Second Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

After the attack, the U.S. military grounded Saudi pilots and restricted the some 850 visiting Saudi military personnel in the country to classroom training as part of a "safety stand-down" during which time it reviewed vetting procedures.

Reid said in a statement that all military departments could fully resume training when the new procedures were in place.

Next week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is due to visit the base in Pensacola, Florida, where the shooting took place and will brief base leadership on the planned changes in vetting and security, the Pentagon says.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart @phildstewart; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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