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Bahrain says it thwarted terror attack, seized weapons from Iran

The Bahraini Interior Ministry said the suspects were linked to terrorist groups in Iran.
A picture taken on Dec. 3, 2020, shows the world trade centre (R) and the skyline of the Bahraini capital Manama.

Bahrain has detained a group of suspected terrorists and seized weapons and explosives that originated from Iran, the Interior Ministry of the tiny island kingdom said Monday. 

Terrorists arrested for plotting terrorist operations against security and civil peace,” the ministry tweeted. “Weapons and explosives from Iran were seized from the arrestees who are linked with terrorist groups in Iran.”

The ministry did not provide any details on the nature of the foiled attack or how many suspects were involved. 

Both Iran and Bahrain are majority Shiite countries. The Sunni rulers of Bahrain, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, have long accused Iran of fomenting unrest among the island state’s Shiite population. 

Manama says Tehran played a role in the 2011 uprising against Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family. Iran denies involvement in the pro-democracy protests, which were ultimately suppressed with the help of Saudi troops. 

The Sunni-dominated government in Bahrain was condemned condemned by rights groups for crackdowns on popular protests against predominantly Shiite Bahrainis a decade ago.  The organizations accused Manama of relying on broad definitions of terrorism to suppress dissent. 

Last year, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court convicted 51 people of membership in a terrorist organization. Investigators said the defendants traveled abroad to receive military training from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran and Shiite paramilitary forces in Iraq. 

A shared distrust of the Islamic Republic paved the way for Bahrain and Israel to establish full diplomatic relations in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. Iran condemned the move, describing Bahrain’s leaders as “partners to the crimes” of Israel. Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in September for the highest-level visit since the two countries normalized ties. 

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