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FBI says attack on Texas naval base 'terrorism-related'

May 22, 2020

Federal agents say they are probing whether the shooting at the base Corpus Christi had a terrorist motive. The gunman was shot and killed by guards after wounding a sailor.

The entrance to the Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi, Texas
Image: Reuters/USA Today/Caller-Times/A. Rice

The FBI confirmed early on Friday that a shooting the day before at a US naval base in Texas was likely "terrorism-related," though officials did not elaborate further. The attack at the station in the city of Corpus Christi left a sailor wounded and the gunman dead. 

At around 6.15 a.m local time (1100 UTC) on Thursday, the assailant, later identified as Adam Alsahli of Corpus Christi, attempted to gain access to the base by opening fire on the sailor who was guarding the security gate.

However, though injured, she was able to roll over and push the button that deployed the gate's security barrier, denying him access.

Gunman 'neutralized'

Alsahli was then shot and killed by other security guards at the base. The injured sailor has since been released from the hospital. 

"We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is terrorism-related,'' said FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Leah Greeves. "We are working diligently with our state, local and federal partners on this investigation, which is fluid and evolving.''

Read more: 8 facts about gun control in the US

The incident was reminiscent of a shooting at a naval air station in Pensacola, Florida, last December, in which four people were killed including the perpetrator.

However, in that case, the attacker was a Saudi national on the base as a type of exchange student and had been in touch with the terrorist group al-Qaeda. Unlike Pensacola, the Corpus Christi base does not have any foreign students or soldiers regularly on the premises. 

Repeated threats 

The Corpus Christi station has seen several such incidents in the past year. Also in December, the station had to impose a lockdown after a similar threat, and earlier last year saw a man try to ram his truck through the front gate. 

Late on Thursday, FBI agents were seen removing items from a house in Corpus Christi, but they would not confirm if the search was related to the attack on the naval base.

es/mm (AFP, AP)

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