BEIRUT

Middle East

Bahrain dismantles 'terror cell': ministry

Bahraini anti-government protesters clash with riot police firing tear gas during clashes in Daih, Bahrain Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

MANAMA: Bahrain has dismantled a "terrorist cell" linked to Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, the interior minister said, slamming what he called "escalation" in the kingdom as the Shiite opposition intensifies its protests.

Security services "have, with the help of a brotherly country, arrested the members of a terrorist cell made up of eight Bahraini elements," state news agency BNA late Saturday quoted Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as saying.

The eight "moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and received training in using arms and explosives as well as financial aid," he said. "Details about the case will be announced as soon as the investigation is completed."

Sheikh Rashid also denounced the "escalation in violence" in the Sunni-ruled kingdom where a protester and a policeman were killed during Shiite-led protests to mark the second anniversary of a 2011 uprising there on Thursday.

He said "terrorist acts had taken place over the past three days" in which "two people were killed and 75 policemen were wounded," adding that "there has been an escalation... with the use of firearms" and explosives.

Witnesses said that authorities have arrested many Shiite activists over the past few days.

Bahrain has seen two years of political upheaval linked to opposition demands for a real constitutional monarchy, with the unrest claiming at least 80 lives, according to international rights groups.

The latest unrest comes against the background of a fresh round of a national dialogue between opposition groups and the government.

 

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