US President Barack Obama has said "entire nation" grievin

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PostFri Nov 06, 2009 9:54 pm » by Savwafair2012

US President Barack Obama has said the "entire nation" is grieving after
a shooting that killed 13 people at a Texas army base.*

Barack Obama: "Friends, family and the entire nation are grieving"

BBC - US President Barack Obama has said the "entire nation" is grieving
after a shooting that killed 13 people at a Texas army base.

He said he had ordered all flags at the White House and other Federal
buildings to be flown at half mast until Veterans Day on 11 November.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, a US-born Muslim and army psychiatrist,
opened fire at Fort Hood on Thursday.

He was due to be deployed soon to Afghanistan, a military official said.

Family members said Mr Hasan was strongly opposed to the deployment and
had wanted to leave the army.

Mr Obama cautioned against "jumping to conclusions" and said the motives
for the shooting were being investigated.

US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan
Born in US to Palestinian parents
Joined the army and trained to be a psychiatrist
Treated soldiers returning from combat zones
Described as a devout Muslim
Said to have been unhappy about imminent overseas deployment

"What we do know is that their families, friends and an entire nation
are grieving right now for the valiant men and women who came under
attack yesterday," he said on Friday.

He added that the order for flags on federal buildings to fly at half
mast was a "modest tribute to those who lost their lives".

The chief of staff of the US Army - Gen George Casey - said the attack
had been a "kick in the gut" for the entire army.

It began at about 1330 (1930 GMT) on Thursday at a personnel and medical
centre at Fort Hood - the largest US military base in the world, home to
about 40,000 troops.

The commander of the base, Lt Gen Robert Cone, told NBC News that,
according to eyewitnesses, Mr Hasan had shouted the Arabic phrase
"Allahu Akbar!" [God is great] before opening fire.

Mr Hasan was shot four times during the attack and is currently being
treated in hospital under armed guard.

The policewoman who shot him first - named as Kimberly Munley, 34 - was
among those wounded.

'Could have been worse'

A picture is beginning to emerge of the suspect, a psychiatrist who was
transferred to the Texas base in July.

Reports suggested that he had been increasingly unhappy in the military
and that his work at his previous post - Walter Reed Army Medical Center
in Washington DC - had been the subject of concern.

Shooting started at 1330 local time at Soldier Readiness Processing
Center in Fort Hood, the world's largest US military base

His cousin told US media that Maj Hasan had been opposed to an imminent
deployment overseas, describing it as his "worst nightmare".

He also said that Maj Hasan had been battling racial harassment because
of his "Middle Eastern ethnicity".

A fellow Fort Hood soldier told the BBC that the incident could put
pressure on Muslim American soldiers.

"It kind of puts a negative light on them and makes people distrust them
because everybody is going to look at them [and think]: 'Well, you're
probably going to pull something like this'," the soldier said. "And
it's a sad fact that that will happen."

The New York Times said the FBI had been investigating internet postings
by a man called Nidal Hasan that appeared to back suicide bombings - but
said it was not clear whether it was the suspect.

Gen Cone said a graduation ceremony for a group of soldiers was taking
place nearby at the time of the shooting.

"Thanks to the quick reaction of several soldiers, they were able to
close off the doors to that auditorium where there were some 600 people
inside," he said.

"As horrible as this was, I think it could have been much worse."

In an e-mail to the BBC, a US soldier stationed at the base described
the venue as a large, open room where hundreds of soldiers were queuing
up to get their pre-deployment checklists signed off.
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