Two female US sailors killed in Bahrain shooting

Other News Materials 23 October 2007 02:10

(TIMES ONLINE) - A male United States Navy sailor shot dead two female colleagues on a base in Bahrain this morning, according to reports today.

The two sailors were pronounced dead at the scene while the gunman sustained serious wounds and was taken to hospital in a critical condition, an unnamed American military official told the Associated Press news agency.

The Navy has made no official comment on the claims with a spokesman saying that an investigation is under way. He ruled out terrorism, adding that the incident "involved US military personnel only".

The incident took place around 5am local time at the United States Naval Support Activity base, in Jufair region, east of the capital Manama, in the base's barracks area.

In a statement, the US Navy said that the two sailors were pronounced dead at the scene, and the third was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

Officials closed the base temporarily and reopened it about an hour after the incident, the spokesman said.

The American military has had a presence in Bahrain since 1949 and the Fifth Fleet, to which the sailors belonged, played a key role in assisting with the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the operation to oust the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Around 5,000 American citizens are based in the Gulf kingdom, which has a free-trade agreement with the United States in return.