MANAMA, Bahrain, Asharq Al-Awsat-Bahrain has dismantled an alleged terrorist cell, according to a statement by the Gulf kingdom’s interior ministry.
The statement attributed to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa affirmed that recent media reports of a discovery of a Bahraini terrorist cell with links to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon were true, and that the interior ministry also confirms the arrest of eight Bahrainis on terror-related charges. These arrests were made with the cooperation of a fellow brotherly country. The eight had received training in weapons and explosives and also obtained funding from outside Bahrain. Further details will be released upon completion of the investigation. In his televised statement Al-Khalifa also addressed the spike in violence that took place in the last couple of days, revealing that it has resulted in the death of two people and injuring of two others as well as 75 police officers, and considerable damage to public as well as private property. The statement also revealed what it described as the dramatic change in the range of weapons used includes rebar spears, Molotov cocktail bombs, and live ammunition against police. Moreover, 19 suspicious objects have been discovered across the country, including a 2-kg bomb that was defused by authorities the statement added.
A Bahraini security source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the bomb was made of highly explosive materials adding that the materials used in this bomb, and the place where it was discovered, indicates a huge leap forward in terms of the terrorist operations normally seen in Bahrain.
The explosive was placed inside an aluminum cooking pot along with nails and other shrapnel in order to cause the greatest damage and loss of life.
The Bahraini security source linked this foiled terrorist plot with the second anniversary of the 2011 Bahrain unrest and the deployment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Peninsula Shield to restore order to the country. The source said, The terrorist cell sought to blow up the King Fahd Causeway as this was the way in which the Peninsula Shield troops entered Bahrain. He added, They (the terrorists) view the Peninsula Shield troops that remain stationed in the country as an occupying force from Saudi Arabia and the King Fahd Causeway as a symbol of Saudi hegemony. The King Fahd Causeway is made up of 5 bridges, totaling 25 km, connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. There is a Border Station located along the Causeway which includes a number of government directorates and authorities, as well as two mosques, and restaurants and services.
Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy has frequently accused Shiite power Iran and its allies of aiding the uprising by Bahrain’s majority Shiites. Iran denies the charges.
The latest unrest comes against the background of a fresh round of a national dialogue between opposition groups and the government.
Bahraini courts have previously convicted suspects for alleged coup plotting and links to Iran and Hezbollah. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
The Bahraini interior minister also called on all the citizens of Bahrain to denounce violence and to abstain from participating in criminal activities.
The Public Security Force is committed to maintaining order in the face of any and all provocations or attacks. We seek the support of all good citizens of Bahrain the statement added.