LONDON — Annual July 4 celebrations for personnel at Britain’s largest U.S. Air Force base have been canceled amid heightened fears of a terrorist attack, military officials said.
Traditionally attended by thousands of service members and their families, the two-day event was organized by RAF Lakenheath — home to the 48th Fighter Wing — and nearby RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England.
However, it was canceled “due to the most current, local threat assessments,” the base announced Thursday.
"We make every effort to ensure the safety of our airmen"
It comes amid worldwide fears of lone-wolf terrorist attacks inspired by an ISIS spokesman who urged supporters to unleash "a month of disaster" during the current Muslim holy period of Ramadan.
And while the military did not mention a specific terror threat, Britain is preparing to mark the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 London transit bombings that killed 52 people.
In the U.S., authorities say there is no specific threat but the New York Police Department was already stepping up patrols after last week's deadly terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait.
In New York, where people will turn toward the East River to view Macy's annual Fourth of July fireworks show, "enhanced counterterrorism and security measures" will be greater than in past years, police said.
Jitters were underscored on Thursday when a firearms alert at Washington’s Navy Yard drew a huge police response.
“We sincerely apologize,” RAF Lakenheath said, saying the cancelation decision had been taken “with heavy hearts.”
“The decision was made due to the most current, local threat assessments. We make every effort to ensure the safety of our airmen, their families and our U.K. partners and must make difficult decisions like this when lives are on the line,” it said.
The event was due to be held on the grounds of RAF Feltwell in southwest Norfolk, which is close to RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall and is home to many USAF personnel.