Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2015 01:17:04 +0200 (METDST)

Manama, Aug 28, 2015 (AFP) - A policeman was killed and seven people, including a child, injured in an explosion Friday evening in a predominantly Shiite district of Bahrain's capital Manama, authorities said.   Four police officers were among the injured, one of them seriously, Information Minister Isa Abdulrahman Al Hammadi told AFP. Two parents and their child were also hurt in the blast in Karanah suburb, he said.   The minister said the explosives used in the apparent bomb attack was "very similar" to that seized by authorities last month which "came from Iran".   In July, Bahraini authorities declared they had foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons from Iran.   A few days later, two police officers were killed and six others injured in a bomb attack on Sitra island outside Manama.

Bahraini authorities said earlier this month they had arrested five suspects over the attack.   Police chief Major General Tariq al-Hasan said the suspects had links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Iran-backed Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.   Sunni-ruled Bahrain frequently accuses Iran, a Shiite power, of backing demands by members of the kingdom's Shiite majority for political reforms.   The tiny but strategic US ally has seen frequent unrest since a Shiite-led uprising four years ago demanding a constitutional monarchy.
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:54:25 +0200 (METDST)

Dubai, July 28, 2015 (AFP) - A bomb blast killed two Bahrain policemen and wounded six others Tuesday in an area often shaken by clashes between security forces and Shiite Muslim protesters, the interior ministry said.   Bahrain has seen frequent unrest since the minority Sunni rulers of the small Gulf kingdom crushed a Shiite-led uprising four years ago.   The blast in Sitra island outside the capital Manama comes days after the Bahraini authorities announced they had foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons from Iran.

Police blocked routes leading to the island following the explosion -- the latest in a series of blasts targeting police in Shiite villages, witnesses said.   "The explosives used in the terrorist incident are of the same quality of explosives seized recently while being smuggled from Iran," the BNA state news agency reported.

The interior ministry described the blast as a "terror" attack.   Footage of the aftermath of the explosion showed a shrapnel-riddled police bus with shattered windows.   Since the Arab Spring-inspired 2011 uprising, protesters demanding political reforms have clashed frequently with security forces in Shiite villages outside Manama.   Human rights groups say at least 89 people have been killed.

Prominent opposition figures have been jailed, including the leader of the Shiite opposition Ali Salman, who was sentenced in June to four years in prison for inciting disobedience and hatred.   Three policemen were killed in March 2014 in the kingdom's deadliest attack against security forces.    They included an Emirati officer from the Saudi-dominated Gulf force that rolled into Bahrain in March 2011 to boost the security forces.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, and other Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdoms accuse Shiite Iran of inciting unrest across the Middle East.   Manama recalled its ambassador from Tehran over the weekend in protest at "hostile" comments by Iranian leaders.     On Sunday, Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham accused Bahrain of making "unfounded allegations" aimed at creating "tension in the region". 

Saudi Arabia, a strong backer of Bahrain, denounced the Iranian statements on Bahrain as "aggressive".     Bahrain summoned Iran's acting charge d'affaires earlier this month to protest after the Islamic republic's supreme leader Ali Khamenei voiced support for "oppressed people" across the Middle East, including in Bahrain.
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 23:17:26 +0100 (MET)

Dubai, Jan 31, 2015 (AFP) - Sunni-ruled Bahrain said Saturday it had revoked the citizenship of 72 people convicted of "harming the interests of the kingdom", which has experienced unrest by its Shiite majority since 2011.   The official BNA news agency said their nationality had been rescinded in a decree as part of measures to "preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats".   BNA published a list of names of the 72 people affected by the measure adopted by the interior ministry and approved by the cabinet.   "Proper legal procedures will be taken by the interior ministry to implement this decision," it added.

Information Minister Isa Abdulrahman al-Hammadi said that "most" of those deprived of their citizenship "are abroad and can challenge the decision legally".   "They do not represent a single terrorist formation," he added, suggesting that those named do not belong to one single Muslim denomination.   Among the reasons for the decision, Hammadi cited "membership of terrorist cells and groups", "financing terrorist acts", "incitement to regime change through force" and "spreading deviant ideologies", a reference to extremist Islamist groups.

This is the largest number of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality since a law passed in 2013 on the punishment of those convicted of "terrorist" acts.   Al-Wefaq, the kingdom's main Shiite opposition group, denounced the withdrawal of nationality, calling it "a weapon" used by the regime to "punish opponents".   "Most of those deprived of their citizenship are opponents in exile," it added in a statement, estimating at around 50 the number of opposition activists it said supported "a democratic transition in Bahrain".

The list also includes the names of "foreign fighters alleged to have links with Daesh", the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, Al-Wefaq noted.   Al-Wefaq's leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, was arrested in late December and is currently on trial charged with attempting to overthrow the regime.   His trial began on Wednesday amid tight security.   Last November, three Shiites were sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped of their citizenship for planning to attack the police.   Their case followed that of another 18 deprived of their citizenship after the authorities in 2012 revoked the nationality of 31 Shiites for "endangering state security".

Bahrain, ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and sits across the Gulf from mainly Shiite Iran.   The tiny but strategic Gulf nation has been rocked by unrest since a 2011 Shiite-led uprising demanding a constitutional monarchy and more representative government.   At least 89 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2011, while hundreds have been arrested and put on trial, rights groups say.   On Saturday, the interior ministry said on its Twitter feed that two policemen had been injured in a "terrorist" bomb blast at a gas station in the Shiite village of Al-Muqsha, near the capital.

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2014 17:56:16 +0100 (MET)

DUBAI, March 03, 2014 (AFP) - A bomb explosion killed three Bahraini policemen on Monday during confrontations between security forces and "rioters" in a Shiite village near the capital, the interior ministry said.   The explosion is the most serious attack on the security forces in terms of casualties since bomb attacks became frequent in the Shiite-majority Gulf kingdom that is ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty.

The Shiite-dominated opposition swiftly condemned the bombing, stressing the "peaceful" nature of action to voice political demands.   The interior ministry said on Twitter "three police personnel died in a terror blast in Daih while police were dispersing rioters".   Earlier the ministry had said one officer and two policemen were "seriously" wounded in the village of Daih, on the outskirts of the capital Manama.   It said the security forces had dispersed a "breakaway group of thugs who diverted from a funeral route in Daih to riot".   Witnesses reported hearing a blast in Daih during a confrontation between protesters and police who fired tear gas and buckshot to disperse demonstrators.

Clashes frequently erupt near Manama between security forces and Shiite protesters demanding the Khalifa family surrender its grip on all key cabinet posts in favour of an elected government.   Arab Spring-inspired protests backed by Bahrain's Shiite majority began in mid-February 2011 and were brutally crushed a month later.   On Sunday, a policeman was wounded in a blast in the Shiite village of Akr al-Sharqi, said the interior ministry.   A policeman died of wounds sustained in a bomb blast in the village of Dair during the commemoration of third anniversary of protests on February 14, the interior ministry said at the time.

Six-opposition groups, led by Al-Wefaq main Shiite formation, said they "regretted having casualties regardless of which side they belonged to, including security forces".   "The sanctity of the blood applies to every human being," said an opposition statement.   It called on supporters to "adhere to peaceful means and condemn and disclaim criminal acts claimed by the so-called Al-Ashtar Brigades or Resistance (brigades) or any other party that claims responsibility for bomb attacks and violence."    Al-Ashtar Brigades has reportedly claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in the kingdom, including a July bombing outside a Sunni mosque.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed since the Bahrain uprising broke out.   Last year the authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences in cases which resulted in deaths or injuries.
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2014 09:45:09 +0100 (MET)

DUBAI, March 03, 2014 (AFP) - An explosion wounded a policeman in a Shiite village near Bahrain's capital, where protesters demonstrating against the ruling Sunni monarchy had blocked roads, the interior ministry said.   Clashes frequently erupt on the outskirts of Manama between security forces and protesters from the country's Shiite majority demanding Bahrain's ruling Sunni Khalifa family surrender its grip on all key cabinet posts in favour of an elected government.   "Police had confronted a group of saboteurs who blocked roads in the village of Akr al-Sharqi," the ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

A policeman trying to "help a woman cross a road" was "lightly wounded" in the explosion, which damaged a police vehicle and a civilian vehicle, the statement said, without giving further details.   Arab Spring-inspired protests backed by Bahrain's Shiite majority began in mid-February 2011 and were brutally crushed a month later.   The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed since the uprising broke out.   Last year authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences in cases which resulted in deaths or injuries.
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