US shooter never entered Qatar, government says

Chattanooga shooting site

U.S. Navy/Damon J. Moritz

Chattanooga shooting site

Responding to media reports that an American gunman suspected of killing five people last month may have been been “radicalized” in Qatar, the government’s new communications office said the shooter never set foot in the country.

In a statement, the office said that Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez had only transited through Hamad International Airport last November while en route to Jordan to visit family.

It continued:

“Statements suggesting Mr Abdulazeez entered the State of Qatar are false.

The State of Qatar condemns these criminal acts such as those in Tennessee, which terrorize and kill innocent people. These acts are contrary to all humanitarian values, ethics, principles and religions and emphasize the need for unity and solidarity in order to renounce violence and reject terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its motives and causes.”

Abdulazeez was killed in a gunfight with police on the same day of the attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He reportedly killed four US marines at a Naval Reserve Center and wounded three others, including a man who died over the weekend.

Media reports

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez

Supplied

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that US officials were investigating the potential motivations of the suspected shooter, and had been hunting for any affiliations the man may have held with overseas militant groups.

The newswire cited two American government sources as saying Abdulazeez spent some time in Qatar:

“U.S. investigators are trying to piece together Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s travels to the region to see if he was radicalized by a militant group such as Islamic State. But they have no evidence he was in contact with militant groups or individuals.

On a seven-month trip to visit family in Jordan, it is uncertain how long he may have spent in the Qatari capital, a political crossroads in the region. Qatar is home to jihadist supporters as well as a U.S. air base.”

However, it’s also possible that the gunman acted alone. According to loved ones who spoke to ABC News, Abdulazeez suffered from depression and drug addiction, among other issues.

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