Attack on a prison officer by two inmates wearing fake suicide belts at HMP Whitemoor is now being treated as a terrorist attack.
A prison officer who was seriously injured at a maximum-security jail was attacked from behind by two inmates with bladed weapons, a union has said.
Three other officers and a nurse were also injured at HMP Whitemoor in March, Cambridgeshire, on Thursday. One attacker is understood to be Brusthom Ziamani, 24, found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism in 2015.
The Prison Officers Association (POA) described the attack as “cowardly and vicious”.
The badly injured officer sustained stab injuries to his head, face and back when he was set upon by the two inmates wearing fake suicide belts and using improvised weapons, POA general secretary Steve Gillan said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that but for the bravery of staff, then this morning we could have been talking about a death of a prison officer at Whitemoor Prison,” he added. The officer was attacked as the cells were being unlocked on Thursday morning.
He was set upon from behind and the inmates attempted to force him into a storage cupboard he was unlocking. The other four members of staff were hurt when they tried to help their colleague.
They were two male prison officers, one female officer, and a prison nurse. One officer was stabbed in the hand, and the others received facial injuries, according to Mr Gillan. All five were treated in hospital but have since been discharged. Shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) were reportedly heard during the attack.
Ziamani, understood to be one of those responsible, was jailed in 2015 for planning to behead a soldier, the BBC has learned. In the prison attack, he was assisted by another inmate, a Muslim convert who was serving time for a violent offence.
Ziamani was inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, his trial at the Old Bailey heardHMP Whitemoor houses more than 400 Category A and B prisoners on three wings, including a number of the highest-risk inmates.