MILDENHALL (REUTERS) – US military personnel fired shots on Monday (Dec 18) as they stopped a man who tried to force his way into a British military base used by the US Air Force, police said, although a security source said it was not thought to be a terrorism incident.
The Mildenhall Royal Air Force base said security staff locked down the base, used by the United States military to refuel US and Nato aircraft in Europe, at about 1300 GMT (9pm Singapore time) following reports of a disturbance.
“Shots were fired by American service personnel and a man has been detained with cuts and bruises and taken into custody,” Suffolk police said. “No other people have been injured as a result of the incident.”
The US Air Force said the incident at the base, which is about 77miles (125km) north-east of London, had been contained and the suspect had been apprehended.
A Western security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the British authorities were “not treating the incident as terrorism related at this stage”.
The source added that Suffolk police were taking the lead on the incident and that specialist anti-terrorism officers were not immediately involved. Police said they remained on the base but there was no threat to the base or local community.
“Police are not looking for anyone else on the site,” the Suffolk force said on Twitter.
Mildenhall houses the 100th Air Refueling Wing and some special operations squadrons. The 1,162-acre base, which is home to about 3,100 US military and an additional 3,000 family members, is earmarked for closure after the United States said it was going to move is operations from the base to Germany.
The base said in a statement staff had been released from the lockdown about an hour-and-a-half after the incident.
“Individuals in the area surrounding the installation are asked to avoid the base at this time,” it said.
In 2016, a delivery driver was convicted of plotting to kill US troops based in England by staging road accidents with soldiers’ cars and then attacking them with knives and possibly a home-made bomb.
Prosecutors said Junead Khan had used his job to scout RAF Mildenhall and two other US bases while out carrying out deliveries.