US mil­i­tary base locked down

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASHINGTON—Joint Base An­drews, the mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity near Washington that is home to the pres­i­dent´s plane, was placed on lock­down on Thurs­day be­cause of re­ports of a gun­man at large and per­son­nel were told to shel­ter in place.

Base of­fi­cials is­sued an all-clear mes­sage for the base after about an hour, but said in Twit­ter mes­sages that a med­i­cal cen­ter at the fa­cil­ity re­mained on lock­down. A US de­fense of­fi­cial said a se­cond sweep was be­ing con­ducted at the Mal­colm Grow Med­i­cal Fa­cil­ity out of “an abun­dance of cau­tion.”

There had been no re­ports of gun­fire or ca­su­al­ties. Base of­fi­cials said ear­lier that the mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tion had been sched­uled to con­duct an ac­tive shooter ex­er­cise, but that there was a re­port of a “real-world” gun­man at large at the med­i­cal cen­ter.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who flies out of An­drews on Air Force One, was not sched­uled to use the base on Thurs­day.

US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den was sched­uled to depart from An­drews dur­ing the morn­ing for a trip to Ohio. He was now hold­ing at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Washington, his spokeswoman said. “First re­spon­ders are on-scene now,” base of­fi­cials said on Twit­ter. “Due to the se­ri­ous na­ture of this re­port, the base is re­act­ing to en­sure the safety of all per­son­nel.

“No other de­tails were im­me­di­ately avail­able, and base of­fi­cials did not re­turn calls for com­ment.

Prince Ge­orge´s County po­lice di­rected ques­tions to the base. The US mil­i­tary has been on high alert for pos­si­ble at­tacks at US lo­ca­tions after in­ci­dents such as the July 2015 shoot­ing ram­page that killed five ser­vice mem­bers at two mil­i­tary of­fices in Chat­tanooga, Tennessee, and the 2009 shoot­ing at a US Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, in which a gun­man killed 13 peo­ple.—Agen­cies Those who died were all women, Ital­ian re­ports said.

The lat­est mi­grant tragedy came as the Ital­ian navy raised to the sur­face a boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives. The April 2015 sink­ing was the worst loss of hu­man life since the in­flux of mi­grants be­gan in 2013.

More than 64,000 mi­grants and refugees have crossed the Mediter­ranean to Italy since the start of this year, ac­cord­ing to UN fig­ures, in­clud­ing more than 16,000 in June alone. Most of the ar­rivals have come from African coun­tries.

The Ital­ian coast guard ar­rived at the scene of Thurs­day’s sink­ing after a dis­tress sig­nal was re­ceived at its Rome head­quar­ters.

The dinghy was partly sub­merged and many of its pas­sen­gers were al­ready in the wa­ter, re­ports said. Sea con­di­tions were de­scribed as poor, with high winds and waves of up to 2m (6.6ft).—Agen­cies

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