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California mass shooter travelled to India once: Saudi official

IANS  |  New York 

The Pakistani woman involved in California mass shooting may have travelled to India from Saudi Arabia in 2013, a media report said on Tuesday citing a Saudi official.

Denying that California shooting suspect Tashfeen Malik spent much time in the kingdom, a Saudi official said she visited only twice, for a few months in total, the New York Times reported.

Major General Mansour Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry, said on Saturday Malik had visited the kingdom twice. In 2008, she arrived in June from Pakistan to visit her father and stayed for about nine weeks before returning to Pakistan.

Then, in 2013, she arrived on June 8 from Pakistan, and departed for India on October 6 of the same year, Turki was quoted as saying.

He gave her full name as Tashfeen Malik Gulzarahmed Malik and said his office did not know whether her father was still in the kingdom.

Contradictory claims have emerged from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia about Malik, as both the countries seek to clear themselves from playing any role in radicalising the woman.

From 2007 to at least 2012, Malik studied in Pakistan's Multan city, where one faculty member recalled her as a "Saudi girl" because her religious observance was so much stricter than that of her peers.

She obtained her admission as a pharmacy student at Bahauddin Zakariya University under a quota system that reserves seats for the children of expatriate Pakistanis, suggesting that she had indeed grown up abroad.

But Saudi officials have denied that she spent much time in the kingdom.

Major General Turki also said there was "no evidence" that Malik had met her husband in the kingdom, but they were in Saudi Arabia at the same time for about five days in October 2013.

Malik and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook killed 14 people last week in San Bernardino, California. According to the FBI, the couple had long been "radicalised" and had practiced at a target range days before the massacre.

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First Published: Tue, December 08 2015. 23:02 IST