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'New IRA' claims responsibility for Belfast prison officer attack

The group said in a statement to the BBC that it was responsible for the bomb explosion.

Police seal off a large area after a device exploded under a car in east Belfast.
Police seal off a large area after a device exploded under a car in east Belfast.
Image: Lesley-Anne McKeown/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A GROUP CALLING itself the New IRA has claimed it was responsible for a bomb explosion in east Belfast that left one prison officer  wounded.

The 52-year-old officer underwent surgery after a bomb partly detonated under his van on Friday morning.

The man was driving to work when police believe the device fell off the vehicle as it went over a speed bump.

In a statement to the BBC, the group claimed he was attacked because he had trained staff at Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.

The group said he was one of a number of “potential targets” resulting from an ongoing dispute between dissidents and prison authorities about their treatment in the facility.

Later on Friday, the PSNI said it fears dissident republican groups are plotting further attacks as the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaches.

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Stephen Martin, assistant chief constable of the force, warned there were individuals within dissident groups “who want to kill police officers, prison officers or soldiers”.

Read: Dissident republicans want to mark Easter Rising by ‘killing police officers’ – PSNI

Read: Prison officer hospitalised after car bomb explosion in Belfast

About the author:

Catherine Healy

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