A policeman was wounded in a shooting at a petrol station in north Belfast on Sunday evening, the police service of Northern Ireland said in a Twitter post.

The BBC, citing an unidentified police source, reported that the officer was hit in the arm after a number of shots were fired. A police spokesman did not immediately return a call requesting details.

Shootings of police officers in Northern Ireland have been relatively rare since a 1998 peace deal ended three decades of violence between Catholic Irish nationalists, opposed to British rule, and Protestant pro-British unionists.

A prison officer died after a car bombing in Northern Ireland in March last year that was claimed by a group of militant nationalists opposed to the peace process.

Northern Ireland is to hold regional elections on March 2 following the collapse of a coalition between Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party.