This undated image released Thursday May 23, 2013, by the British Ministry of Defence, shows Lee Rigby, who is identified by the MOD as the serving member of the armed forces who was attacked and killed by two men in the Woolwich area of London last Wednesday. (Photo: AP)
Over the weekend, three inmates at a maximum-security prison in England took a guard hostage, threatening and abusing him for roughly four hours until officers in riot gear were able to contain the situation, the BBC reported Tuesday.
According to a source for The Sun, the attack at Full Sutton Prison was "inspired" by the gruesome beheading of a British soldier in Woolwich last week.
“This had all the hallmarks of a pre-planned attack inspired by the Woolwich atrocity," the unnamed source said. “It’s something officials have been fearing could happen for several years and now it finally has."
The attack was reportedly launched after a prison imam asked the inmates to pray for the murdered soldier.
The guard suffered a broken cheekbone and according to some reports, a broken jaw. A female colleague who tried to help him also suffered injuries to her arm, but both are expected to recover.
“The officer was frankly lucky to survive. The attack was brutal,” the source added.
Officials investigating the attack have not commented on the inmates' motivations, but a spokeswoman for the North East Counter Terrorism Unit told the BBC that the suspects are not in prison for terror-related offenses.
"Until the full facts of the incident are known, we do not wish to comment further for fear of compromising any police investigation," Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association remarked.
In other potential "copy-cat" attacks, French police are investigating the case of a "bearded man" who stabbed a French soldier in the neck over the weekend, the Agence-France Presse reports.