Terrorist threat is still very real

TERRORISTS could strike in the heart of Suffolk, according to a senior member of a task force designed to protect American airbases from the threat of attacks.

TERRORISTS could strike in the heart of Suffolk, according to a senior member of a task force designed to protect American airbases from the threat of attacks.

Major Craig Baker, who is in charge of 40 US National Guard soldiers based at RAF Lakenheath, described the USAF base as a potential target in the wake of the recent terrorism attack in Spain.

Major Baker said: "We are taking the threat of terrorism very seriously. We have to remain vigilant at all times and as well as a potential terrorism attack, we have to guard against complacency.

"You never know when these people will target a different location and you can never be sure when something like that could happen locally."


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Two hundred and two people were killed and more than 1,400 injured when ten bombs exploded on four trains in Madrid, Spain, last week.

Major Baker, in charge of the 134th Field Artillery, said the attack, which killed office workers, students and schoolchildren, had made Lakenheath soldiers more wary of a local attack.

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"The atrocity in Madrid didn't worry us even more but it has made us step up our security even more," he said. "Our soldiers were shocked by what happened but we will remain vigilant."

About 50 national guards, a reserve force within the US Army, arrived at the base a year ago as the conflict in Iraq deepened.

Now as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in the continuing war against terrorism, the soldiers are still involved in protecting the bases, searching vehicles and checking visitors' identification as they enter.

They were assigned to help protect thousands of staff and millions of pounds worth of military hardware at both RAF Lakenheath and neighbouring RAF Mildenhall.

Working alongside existing base security forces, they are expected to remain at Lakenheath until the end of the year.

The 134th Field Artillery arrived at the base from Ohio in the United States replacing National Guard soldiers from Puerto Rico.

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