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Bioterrorism speculated after incident at Joint base Meyer-Henderson Hall

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Bioterrorism speculated after incident at Joint base Meyer-Henderson Hall

Sophie Alegi, Staff Reporter

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Eleven Marines were sickened on February 27 due to a HazMat incident at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. The contamination site on the base has since been cleared for reentry. However, there has been speculation that bioterrorism is back on American soil after sixteen years.

From September 18, 2001 to October 9, 2001, America was terrorized by Amerithrax, a biological terror attack that involved the sending of envelopes full of deadly anthrax spores to several news organizations and US senators. Amerithrax killed five people and sickened seventeen. There have been no significant biological terrorism incidents in the US since these post 9/11 attacks. This is the first report in many years that suggests biological terrorism may be at work once more.

According to a Marine Corps spokesman, an envelope containing a threatening letter an an unknown powdery substance was opened at around 3pm on Feb. 27, in Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, and shortly thereafter, eleven people began to feel ill, prompting the evacuation of the building.

Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is a military installation composed of Army bases Fort Myers and Fort McNair, and Marine Corps installation Henderson Hall. It is located in close proximity to Arlington National Cemetery, and houses the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard, composed of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment.

A military source that spoke to CNN reported that “a corporal, gunnery sergeant and a colonel all exhibited symptoms of a burning sensation on their hands and face and [one had] a nosebleed.”

Three Marines were immediately transported to a local hospital for medical evaluation and were eventually released from the hospital at around 10 pm.

“Base officials and are coordinating with local HAZMAT teams and FBI. No additional details are available at this time as the investigation is ongoing,” Maj. Brian Block, a US Marine Corps spokesperson said, according to a CNN report.

The FBI has brought the envelope to their labs in Quantico for further analysis, but a law enforcement official reportedly said that the letter tested negative for any known harmful substances. The investigation is ongoing.

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Bioterrorism speculated after incident at Joint base Meyer-Henderson Hall