U.S. Navy workers shut down the main shopping center at the Guantánamo Bay Navy Base on Monday afternoon after someone discovered a suspicious package at the commissary.
The base provided scant details about the discovery, which happened about 2:30 p.m. But at Jacksonville regional headquarters, Navy spokesman Mike Andrews said the Navy had scrambled a special explosives team from Mayport, expected to arrive around midnight “to carry out their standard suspicious package protocol.” Andrews had no additional details on what the suspicious package looked like.
The Navy Exchange — or NEX, as the commissary is known — is the main shopping center for the base of roughly 6,000 people, about a third of whom are U.S. military personnel. It has a grocery store and deli, as well as liquor, electronics, clothing and shoe departments.
It occupies a strip mall with an adjacent barbershop, a Subway, a souvenir shop and an ATM. McDonald’s is nearby, as is the base church, scuba dive shop and public library.
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The NEX is about five miles away from the Detention Center Zone of 91 war-on-terror captives run by a temporary staff of about 2,000 troops and civilians.
The last known bomb scare occurred in October 2012 after Hurricane Sandy washed up what turned out to be an inert training bomb on the shore near a ferry landing on Guantánamo Bay.