BEIRUT

Middle East

Bahrain accuses Iran of training opposition militants

Security forces walk past Bahraini Shiite Muslims shouting religious slogans to protest against them on Jan. 1, 2014 in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

DUBAI: Bahrain accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards Friday of providing opposition militants with explosives training in order to carry out attacks in the Gulf kingdom, announcing that it had arrested five suspects.

Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni Muslim dynasty but has a population that is majority Shiite. The government crushed a mostly Shiite-led uprising in 2011 and has long accused predominantly Shiite Iran of meddling in its affairs.

Chief prosecutor Osama al-Oufi said the intelligence service reported last month that "Bahraini Ahmed Mahfuz Mussawi, currently living in Iran, had planned terrorist bombing operations targeting institutions and places vital to the sovereignty and security of the kingdom."

Quoted by state news agency BNA, he added that five people had been arrested and "admitted joining a group to carry out terrorist attacks... and travelled to Iran to receive training in Revolutionary Guards camps and then received sums of money."

On Monday, Bahraini authorities said they had seized a boat smuggling explosives made in Iran and Syria into the country.

Since the 2011 uprising, which called for democratic reforms, demonstrations have regularly been held in Shiite villages around the capital, often sparking clashes with security forces.

At least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the protests began, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

Several bomb attacks have taken place in recent months, including one that targeted a Sunni mosque close to the royal court in July but caused no casualties.

Tensions escalated over the weekend as authorities interrogated top Shiite opposition leader Ali Salman.

The head of the main Shiite bloc Al-Wefaq was released after a day of questioning, but was charged with incitement to religious hatred and spreading false news endangering national security.

 

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