BEIRUT

Middle East

Bahrain arrests 25 for alleged ties to deadly bomb

A Bahraini police stands next to the body of comrade after a bomb exploded during clashes between protesters and security forces on March 3, 2014 in the village of Daih, west of the capital Manama. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

MANAMA, Bahrain: Bahraini authorities have arrested 25 people on suspicion of involvement in a deadly bomb attack on police and listed an activist network and two little-known anti-government groups as terrorist organizations, authorities in the Gulf Arab nation said Tuesday.

The crackdown follows Monday's blast on the outskirts of the capital Manama, which killed three policemen.

The interior minister, Sheik Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, announced the arrests in a televised address. He called Monday's bombing and another attack that killed a police officer last month a reminder "of the high level of danger" facing the country.

"Indeed, these terror acts are premeditated murder and represent a lack of humanity," he said.

Bahrain's mainstream opposition groups have also condemned the attacks.

In an extraordinary session, the Cabinet named three groups - the February 14 coalition, al-Ashtar Brigades and Resistance Brigades - along with any related groups as terrorist organizations, according to a report by the official state news agency.

It said authorities intended to take necessary legal procedures "to dissolve them and arrest their members."

The February 14 group is a loosely affiliated activist network named after the start of the 2011 uprising that has helped promote and organize demonstrations. Little is known about the al-Ashtar Brigades and Resistance Brigades, though the former has claimed responsibility for violent attacks in Bahrain in the past.

The report did not say why the three groups had been singled out.

The officers killed Monday died when a bomb apparently detonated remotely went off while they were trying to disperse anti-government activists. Among the dead was an officer from the United Arab Emirates deployed to help bolster security in the tiny island kingdom.

Bahrain has been roiled by three years of unrest, with a Shiite-dominated opposition movement demanding greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy. The country is a small, Western-allied island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Young protesters frequently clash with riot police in running street skirmishes despite mainstream opposition leaders' appeals to keep the demonstrations peaceful.

Radical elements among the protesters have been increasingly using bombs targeting government forces. The weapons typically do not have the force of explosives used by insurgents in places such as Iraq or Syria, though they have resulted in deaths.

 

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Summary

Bahraini authorities have arrested 25 people on suspicion of involvement in a deadly bomb attack on police and listed an activist network and two little-known anti-government groups as terrorist organizations, authorities in the Gulf Arab nation said Tuesday.

Bahrain's mainstream opposition groups have also condemned the attacks.

In an extraordinary session, the Cabinet named three groups -- the February 14 coalition, al-Ashtar Brigades and Resistance Brigades -- along with any related groups as terrorist organizations, according to a report by the official state news agency.

Little is known about the al-Ashtar Brigades and Resistance Brigades, though the former has claimed responsibility for violent attacks in Bahrain in the past.


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