Saudis show solidarity with US and disavow Florida attacker

Saudi nationals are posting on social media to offer their condolences after the attack at a Navy base

Flowers and a message are left on the entrance bridge 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

Saudis have taken to social media to express their solidarity with the United States and to disavow the alleged Saudi national who carried out an attack at a US Navy base in Florida on Friday which left three people dead.

The shooting, which took place in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, left eight others wounded, including two sheriff's deputies who responded to the attack.

"We are in solidarity with American friends about this event, which grieves all the Saudi people, the Saudi leadership and the Saudi street," wrote one Saudi Twitter user. "This does not represent the Saudi people, because what I do will not reflect the people and the leadership in this terrible accident."

Some began to use several Arabic hashtags to show support for the country, including one that translated to #Florida_Criminal_Does_not_represent_us.

"We don't know the motivation for this disaster!" wrote Fahad on Twitter. "We will remain a peace-loving people with all the people of the world. Our sincere condolences to the families of the victims."

Commentator Faisal Al Shammari wrote: "As a Saudi American, my most sincere condolences to the American people on this barbaric, violent crime. My thoughts are with the families of those impacted by this horrific attack. I will keep the victims in my thoughts and prayers. This criminal doesn't represent the Saudi people."

US President Donald Trump said that King Salman had reached out to him personally to express his own condolences. Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir also tweeted his sympathies.

Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, wrote: “My most sincere condolences to the American people on the tragedy that unfolded at Pensacola, Florida. My thoughts are with the families of those impacted by this horrific attack.” The two countries are major allies, with wide cooperation on economic and military matters.

One user summed up the feeling online among Saudis shocked by the shooting.

"Saudis are denouncing the heinous barbaric act of #Florida attack. 'Florida's criminal does not represent us' is trending in Saudi Arabia. Our condolences to our American friends," he wrote.