HARNEY COUNTY, Or. – The headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where more than a dozen heavily armed right-wing extremists were believed to be holed up, has been destroyed following a suspected drone strike, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced early Monday.
“Two explosions were reported early this morning in the vicinity of the refuge’s main office,” Brett Lauer, a spokesman for the agency, told CNN. “Emergency crews arrived on the scene to find a smoldering crater where the Malheur office had once stood.” Lauer went on to describe the scene as “chaotic,” saying first responders searched in vain for survivors but, as of Monday afternoon, none had been found.
Firefighters recovered the remains of thirteen people, eleven of whom are believed to be members of an extremist group led by Ammon Bundy. The forty year-old son of Nevada rancher and anti-government radical Cliven Bundy was among those killed in the blast.
On Saturday, January 2, a small but heavily armed group of militants led by Mr. Bundy stormed the wildlife refuge headquarters in Harney County, demanding the release of two individuals -a father and son, who had been convicted of arson. As of Sunday evening, local authorities were monitoring the situation but had not made any overt attempts to intervene.
The Obama administration has not publicly commented on the explosion or the deaths of the extremists but White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in response to an inquiry from Real News Right Now, said, “The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.”