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Four arrested over bomb attack on Northern Ireland prison officer

Published 06/03/2016

The Belfast street where a prison officer was injured in a blast on Friday morning
The Belfast street where a prison officer was injured in a blast on Friday morning

Three men and one woman have been arrested in connection with a bomb attack on a prison officer in Northern Ireland.

The 52-year-old prison officer, a married father of three, required surgery after an explosive device detonated under the van he was driving on Friday morning. His condition was described as stable.

A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "Detectives investigating the attempted murder of a prison officer in Belfast on Friday, 4 March have arrested three men and one woman."

The explosion happened in the Hillsborough Drive area off the Woodstock Road, a predominantly unionist/loyalist area in the east of the city, just after 7am.

The senior prison officer had just left home to drive to work.

The victim is a long-serving officer based at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre in south Belfast and works as a trainer for new recruits to the NI Prison Service.

Following the attack, police commanders expressed fears it may be the first of a number of dissident republican murder bids launched to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising.

Meanwhile, in separate incidents on Saturday, officers found two viable explosive devices in residential streets in west Belfast.

A security alert sparked by what police called a "suspicious object" in Glencolin Walk lasted several hours, ending shortly before 10pm.

Earlier, homeowners were evacuated as specialist officers removed another bomb from Ramoan Drive for further examination.

The first alert was declared over at around 3pm.

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