Police say they have arrested a man over one of the deadliest mass shootings in Northern Ireland's years of violence, the murder of 10 Protestant workmen in 1976.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland says a 59-year-old man was arrested Friday on suspicion of the shooting in the village of Kingsmill.

Irish nationalist gunmen stopped a minibus carrying factory workers on January 5, 1976. The men were asked their religion, and the one Catholic in the group was told to run away. The others were shot.

Friday's arrest came two months after police announced they had found a potential match to a palm-print found on a getaway vehicle.

Alan Black, who was shot 18 times but survived, said news of the arrest had come like a "bolt from the blue."