Police treat assault on five prison staff as terrorist attack

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Friday that an assault on five prison staff at a maximum security jail in England is being treated as a terrorist attack.

A prison officer sustained injuries to his head and neck during the incident on Thursday morning which took place at Whitemoor prison in eastern England.

Two prisoners were detained by other staff and are thought to have used “improvised bladed weapons”, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.

Both attackers were also wearing belts with various items crudely attached, they added.

The BBC reported that one of the two inmates was serving a sentence for terrorism offences.

“The matter is being treated as a terrorist attack and the investigation continues at pace,” police said in a statement.

Five staff members were hospitalised in the aftermath of the incident but have since been released.

In 2016, Britain announced plans to isolate radical Islamists in special units in high security jails to limit their ability to influence other inmates amid concerns that prisons were breeding grounds for extremists.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison