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Twelve killed in shooting rampage at US army base

Twelve people were killed and at least 31 were wounded when a soldier went on a shooting rampage at the Fort Hood U.S. Army base at Fort Hood Texas on today, base commander Lieutenant-General Bob Cone said.

Cone told reporters at the base that the gunman was killed in the attack at the facility, the biggest military base in the world and a prime point of deployment for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said in an interview with Fox News that she was told by military officials the gunman was an officer who had been about to be deployed to Iraq.

Several broadcast networks named him as Major Malik Nadal Hasan and said he was about 40 years old, but this could not immediately be confirmed.

Two other soldiers were apprehended as suspects.

Cone said the shooting took place at a "Soldier Readiness Facility" where soldiers preparing for overseas deployment were getting last-minute medical checkups. The shooting took place at about 1:30 p.m. CST (1930 GMT).

"The shooter was killed. He was a soldier. We since then have apprehended two additional soldiers that are suspects. There were eyewitness accounts that there may have been more than one shooter," Cone said .

Christopher Hogue, chief of media at Fort Hood, told reporters: "The only one we know who was shooting was killed and he had two handguns." The shooter was included in total of 12 killed.

President Barack Obama, speaking during an event at the Department of the Interior in Washington, said it was a "horrific outburst of violence". He added: "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil."

Pentagon officials said it was unclear what triggered the shooting. "I don't know how anybody can speculate about motives at this time given how few facts we have," said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

A U.S. Army official in Washington said the incident took place shortly before a scheduled graduation event at the base.

The massive Fort Hood base, is home to about 50,000 troops, although Texas U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said there were about 35,000 troops at the base at the time.

Fort Hood is halfway between Austin and Waco, about 60 miles (100 km) from each city.