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Shooter shouted Allahu Akbar

world Updated: Nov 07, 2009 00:00 IST

Witnesses heard the US army psychiatrist who killed 13 people in Texas shout “Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)” as he opened fire, the base commander said on Friday.

Born and reared in Virginia, the son of immigrant parents from a small Palestinian town near Jerusalem, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan joined the army right out of high school, against his parents’ wishes. The army, in turn, put him through college and then medical school, where he trained to be a psychiatrist.

But Maj. Hasan began having second thoughts about a military career a few years ago after other soldiers harassed him for being a Muslim, he told relatives in Virginia.

He had also more recently expressed deep concerns about being sent to Afghanistan.

“He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy,” his cousin, Nader Hasan, said. “He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there.”