US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was banning all electric pencil sharpening machines in the United States, following a deadly bombing in Saudi Arabia.
The move follows a string of attacks in the Middle East, where Saudi-led air strikes have been blamed for killing scores of people in the past week, with some of the victims apparently using sharpened pencils.
“We’re banning all of them,” Trump said during a news conference.
“We’re going to take a very hard look at this.
We’re going a very, very, thorough look at it, and we’re going, in all fairness, to get back to you on a future date.”‘
The world is very divided’: US President Trump comments on bombing in Riyadh article US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had briefed Trump on the bombing, saying that the bombing was a “terrible, terrible thing that was committed by the people of Saudi Arabia”.
“It’s very sad and it’s a terrible thing to happen,” Tillerson said on the US State Department’s “State of the Union” programme.
“The world was very divided on that and I think that the president was quite clear on that.”
Tillerson said Trump’s move was a way to ensure that the Saudis did not use violence against US interests.
“He said he was going to do it because he felt that this was a terrible, terrible situation and that they did this on purpose, on purpose to hurt Americans,” Tillerson told reporters.
“And I think the president believes that that was a very important step.”
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel said on Twitter that the attack in Riyadh was carried out by the Islamic State group (IS) and was carried “out with the aim of targeting US interests and interests of the kingdom”.US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis also told reporters that Trump was making the decision because the US has been hit with three terror attacks in a month.
“Our goal is to defeat and defeat and destroy the terrorist groups,” Mattis said, according to the Associated Press.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the attacks that we’ve seen this month have been very, particularly the attacks against US personnel and facilities in Saudi, but we are also continuing to work with the Saudis to get rid of this group, which is ISIS.”
Trump said on Wednesday he would “get the hell out of there” and “get them out of the Middle-East” as part of a “big, big, big” US-Saudi deal.
Trump said he would seek an end to Saudi funding for terrorism in a speech in Saudi’s capital, Riyadh, on Thursday morning.
He called the attacks a “very sad day for the region” and said the US will be working to end “the blood money” flowing to the Islamic extremist group.
Trump also said he believed the Saudi government had made a mistake in cutting ties with Iran, which he said had been arming Houthi rebels in Yemen and supported al-Qaeda.
He also said the Saudis were not paying enough attention to the plight of their citizens in Yemen.
“There’s nothing we’re doing to make our people’s lives better,” Trump told the Saudi audience.
“That’s the truth.
The Saudis have made a very tragic mistake in their dealings with Iran.”
The attack in Saudi came days after the US-led coalition bombed Islamic State targets in the country, killing at least 18 civilians and injuring dozens more.