Detectives investigating explosion in Hillsborough Drive make arrests
Detectives investigating the attempted murder of a prison officer in Belfast on Friday 4 March have arrested for people - three men aged 34, 41 and 45, and a female aged 34. They were detained in the Belfast area on Sunday evening, 6 March.
All are being questioned at a police station in Belfast.
A prison officer was injured when a device exploded under his van in Hillsborough Drive in east Belfast at around 7.10am on Friday morning, 4th March.
An extensive follow up operation was carried out in the area by PSNI supported by Ammunition Technical Officers (ATO).
Speaking on Friday, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “We received a report of an explosion under a vehicle in Hillsborough Drive, off the Woodstock Road, shortly after 7am.
We can confirm that the van in question belonged to a Prison Officer who had travelled a short distance from his home when the explosion occurred.
I understand that he has undergone some surgery and we are hopeful that his condition is not life-threatening. We send him our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.
The people behind this despicable act wanted to kill this man. This is a 52 year old man, married with grown up daughters. He has been in the Prison Service for over 28 years. We could have been facing an absolutely tragic set of circumstances and we are grateful that he has survived this attack but we know all too well that that was not the intention of those who carried it out.
The threat in Northern Ireland remains severe meaning an attack is highly possible.
In the run up to Easter, our security presence may increase. We recognise that the centenary is an important part of the calendar and we are working with organisers to make sure events pass off peacefully. We will be culturally sensitive in our policing approach and endeavour to minimise diruption for the public however we must be mindful that there are people within dissident republican groupings who want to mark this anniversary in a sinister way; their aim is to kill.
Every day the Police Service of Northern Ireland works hard to provide an everyday policing service that keeps people safe but we need the continuing support of our communities - it is not inevitable that anyone needs to lose their life and we will be working hard to prevent that. Be vigilant; if you see anything suspicious, please contact the police.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.