What is Abbey Gate? Man expelled from State of the Union address for shouting about deadly attack

A heckler was expelled from US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address yesterday evening (Thursday), when he repeatedly shouted: “Remember Abbey Gate” in the middle of the speech.

The president had spent more than an hour delivering his speech, in which he criticized his unnamed predecessor (Donald Trump), when the man began shouting: “Remember Abbey Gate… the US Navy!” according to the Independent.

The man was seen leaving with the Capitol Police in handcuffs.

The man was later identified as Steven Nikoi, the father of Kareem Nikoi, a US Marine who was one of 13 American soldiers killed in the Kabul airport bombing, in August 2021, when the United States withdrew its forces from Afghanistan.

A demonstrator is expelled and escorted by security forces during the “State of the Union” speech (AP)

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, had invited two other parents, Alicia Lopez and Darren Hoover (who also lost their children in the terrorist attack) as his guests to attend the president’s speech.

“President Biden’s hasty and unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan was a failure for America and its allies,” Johnson said in a statement to ABC News before the speech. “This led to the tragic deaths of brave American service members, including Marine Sergeant Taylor Hoover and Corporal Hunter Lopez.”

Mr. Hoover and Ms. Lopez issued a joint statement before attending the speech, in which they called for “transparency” and “fairness” from the Biden administration.

“Taylor and Hunter are great men and wonderful sons who make their families proud every day,” they said. They made the ultimate sacrifice, along with 11 other people killed and 45 wounded, for our great country, but more than two years after their deaths, the president has left us without answers.

They continued: “As parents, we deserve transparency and demand justice… We are grateful to join Speaker Johnson in the State of the Union address to commemorate our children and demand accountability from this administration.”

US President Joe Biden delivers the “State of the Union” address in the Capitol Building (AFP)

Abbey Gate was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, August 2021, during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Thirteen American soldiers (11 Marines, a soldier, and a sailor) were killed in the attack, as were about 170 Afghan civilians.

The suicide terrorist attack that occurred on August 26, 2021 came days after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. This was the bloodiest day for American forces in Afghanistan in nearly a decade.

Since then, families of some of the 13 service members killed have demanded answers from the Biden administration, while Republicans have launched walk-out investigations.

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