World News

U.S. Military Fires Upon Intruder at Air Base in Britain

Posted December 18, 2017 2:35 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2017 2:36 p.m. EST

LONDON — An air base in England that is used by the U.S. Air Force was put on lockdown Monday after U.S. military personnel responded with gunfire to an intruder who tried to force his way through a checkpoint.

A suspect, who has not been publicly identified, had cuts and bruises and was taken into custody after the episode — the Suffolk Police called it a “significant incident” — broke out around 1:40 p.m. at the Mildenhall air base, about 75 miles northeast of London.

“An individual came through the gate and failed to yield to commands to stop,” said Brian Boisvert, a spokesman for the U.S. military at the base, adding that safety protocols were followed and shots were fired as a last resort.

The Suffolk Police said that there were no other reports of injuries, that officers were on the scene, and that members of the public should avoid the area.

The United States announced in 2015 that it planned to remove its forces from the base, in an effort to cut costs, but the pullout has been delayed.

The Pentagon said at the time that it was planning to relocate 2,000 military and civilian staff members from Mildenhall, which had been used as a transport hub by the U.S. Air Force. The base is also used for air refueling missions for NATO forces.

Last year, Junead Ahmed Khan, a delivery driver, was sentenced to at least 12 years in prison for plotting to kill U.S. military personnel in Britain. Prosecutors said that Khan had used his job to identify potential targets, and that he had planned to stage an accident outside a base in nearby Lakenheath, and to kill people who came to help.

Khan was also found guilty of preparing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State militant group.