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Bahrain foils terror plot against Saudi, bomb-making materials seized

(AP, Reuters)
Filed on June 20, 2015

echniques used in the manufacture of the explosives bore “clear similarities” to methods used by what it called proxy groups of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp.

Dubai - Bahrain said on Thursday it had seized explosives and bomb-making materials planned for use in Bahrain and neighbouring Saudi Arabia in what it said was an attempt to use its borders as a base for attacking targets in the region.

In a statement, police chief Major-General Tariq Al Hasan said the techniques used in the manufacture of the explosives bore “clear similarities” to methods used by what it called proxy groups of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC).

Bahrain often accuses Iran of seeking to subvert the Gulf Arab country.

Iran denies interfering in Bahrain, although it acknowledges it does support opposition groups seeking greater political and economic rights.

Hasan said the seized items, including powerful explosive C4, commercial detonators, advanced circuitry, chemicals and mobile phones, “represent a significant escalation in attempts to smuggle explosives material into Bahrain”.

The June 6 seizure in the Dar Kulaib district was made possible by information arising from the capture in May of a vehicle containing similar explosives as it was being driven across the causeway that links Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, he said.

Bahrain has reported a growing number of attacks using home-made explosives, some of them deadly, in the past two years.

Hasan added that the June 6 operation and previous such seizures “point to an emerging trend. The professionalism with which these seized materials are assembled and concealed is a clear indication of international support and sponsorship.”

“Of greater concern, however, is the fact that these sophisticated bomb-making materials were destined for Saudi Arabia, a sign that extremists are increasingly using Bahrain’s borders as a launch pad for terrorists seeking to carry out attacks elsewhere in the region.”

A Bahraini court had on Tuesday sentenced the country’s leading opposition figure to four years in prison. Sheikh Ali Salman, a key figure in the 2011 opposition protest, was convicted of insulting the Interior Ministry, which oversees police, inciting others to break the law and inciting hatred against naturalised Sunni citizens, many of whom are of South Asian descent and serve in the country’s security forces.

However, the court found Salman not guilty of the most serious charge he faced, which was inciting violence and calling for the overthrow of the monarchy, which carried a potential life sentence. His defence lawyer, Abdullah Al Shamlawi, said Salman can appeal.

Salman, 49, is the secretary-general of the Al Wefaq political opposition group and was arrested in late December. The charges against him stem from speeches he made between 2012 and 2014.

Al Wefaq says his words were taken out of context. His group criticized the verdict.

“Keeping Ali Salman in jail means delaying any political solution to come and reflects the government’s rejection to a political solution,” Al Wefaq member Khalil Marzooq said. 


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