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Failed knifepoint abduction of RAF man may have been terror mission

By Sam Russell

Detectives yesterday refused to rule out terrorism in the attempted knifepoint abduction of an RAF serviceman.

The victim, who is married and in his late 20, was out running near RAF Marham, in Norfolk, on Wednesday when he was grabbed by a man who attempted to drag him towards a car.

The serviceman knocked the first attacker to the floor, after which the assailant was helped up by an accomplice who was armed with a knife.

The victim was said to have been left "very, very shaken by his ordeal".

Norfolk Police Detective Superintendent Paul Durham said they may have been an element of pre-planning in the attack.

"I can confirm we are treating this as an attempted abduction and inquiries are being carried out at the scene to establish the full circumstances," he added.

"The motivation for the attack remains unclear at this time, and while we are currently unable to discount terrorism, there are a number of other possible hypotheses. We are therefore carrying out a thorough investigation to understand what has happened, why and who is responsible."

When asked at a press conference if he thought it was a pre-planned attack, Mr Durham replied: "I would be speculating at the moment, but it is difficult to envisage a situation where perhaps there wasn't an element of pre-planning, but it's too early to say for sure.

"It was a regular running route for the victim and a regular running route for a number of personnel within RAF Marham - it's a well-trodden path."

Police are keen to trace the two men, a dark-coloured people carrier and the military-style a two-and-a-half to three-inch blade used in the incident.

Mr Durham said it was believed that the first man shouted something at the victim, who did not hear what he said because he was listening to music.

Norfolk Police released descriptions of two suspects of Middle Eastern appearance as military personnel were reportedly sent a memo warning them about the incident.

The force also said military bases had upped their security since the attack.

Nick Dean, Assistant Chief Constable, added: "The vigilance in and around not only RAF Marham but all military bases has clearly increased as a result of this incident.

"However, the wider security threat to the public and in terms of military bases remains unchanged at this time."

A note seen by the Daily Mirror and addressed to all service personnel in the wake of the incident warned: "2x Asian males approached a serviceman who was running approximately 1 mile outside of RAF Marham main gate and tried to bundle him into their vehicle.

"The vehicle was a dark-coloured Ford Galaxy.

"The Asian males were carrying a knife when the serviceman was approached."

A further memo advised military staff to keep a low profile and not to be alone on foot or on a bicycle in any uniform or clothing that identified them as members of the armed forces.

One road was sealed off yesterday in the wake of the incident, and there was a heightened police presence, but the base's Families and Friends Day went ahead.

Belfast Telegraph


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