Two prison officers have been injured in an attack at a British maximum security jail, officials said today, with media reports claiming the assailants were Muslim inmates inspired by the brutal murder of a soldier.
The prison officers' union told AFP one of the guards had been held hostage for nearly four hours at Full Sutton prison near York in northern England on Sunday, until riot officers managed to free him.
Officials did not confirm reports that the three attackers were Muslim prisoners inspired by the murder last week of a British soldier who was hacked to death in a London street by suspected Islamic extremists.
The Mirror newspaper reported that the male guard was kidnapped and beaten by three inmates after they became enraged by a call from the prison's imam to pray for soldier Lee Rigby, who was murdered in broad daylight last Wednesday.
"An officer was taken hostage at Full Sutton prison on Sunday evening," a spokesman for the prison officers' union, the POA, told AFP.
"A team of riot officers was deployed and managed to diffuse the situation after four hours.
"I understand that the injuries sustained by the two officers involved in this incident were minor and they have now been discharged from hospital -- but we are lucky that this situation didn't turn out to be as life-threatening as it could have been."
He added that a representative of the union was visiting the prison "to try and get a better picture of what happened".
The justice ministry confirmed that "an incident involving three prisoners" had taken place at the jail.
"A police investigation is ongoing," a ministry spokeswoman said.
The Sun said the officer had been stabbed during the attack and that the second injured guard was a female officer who was hurt trying to stop him being dragged away.
Ten people have been arrested over Rigby's murder. The two prime suspects, both Muslim converts from Nigerian Christian families, remain in separate hospitals under armed guard after they were shot by police at the murder scene.
One of the suspects was filmed wielding bloody knives near Rigby's body, telling a passer-by that they killed him because British soldiers were killing Muslims every day.