U.K. Army base evacuated after servicemen fall ill
Commanding officers thought that a package, possibly containing the bioterror agent anthrax, might have infiltrated the $71 million complex when the staff simultaneously fell ill with flu-like symptoms. A portion of the base was sealed off while Ministry of Defense Police investigated the possible security breach, according to DailyStar.co.uk.
"It was panic stations," an anonymous source at the base said, DailyStar.co.uk reports. "Their symptoms were so bad there were immediate fears that they had been exposed to an outside biochemical agent. Rumors spread like wildfire that there had been an anthrax attack in the building.
"People rushed outside and then the place was evacuated. There was a genuine belief that something was terribly wrong."
The U.K. Ministry of Defense recently confirmed that base was evacuated on March 30. A thorough investigation revealed no evidence of foul play.
British Army Land Forces headquarters is the service's main intelligence station and is considered a prime target for a terrorist attack. The incident highlights the risk posed to security forces by biochemical agents.
There are more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel working at the site, which coordinates all of the Army's activities in the United Kingdom.
The affected servicemen have since recovered from the illness, but its cause has yet to be diagnosed, according to DailyStar.co.uk.