Officials in the tiny Gulf nation of Bahrain said Wednesday they busted an Iran-backed “terror” cell that was planning imminent attacks inside of the country. Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy but is populated with a Shiite majority.
Bahrain is one of the 11 nations that have either downgraded ties with Iran or severed them completely over the past week. The Sunni-Shia discord comes following Saudi Arabia’s high-profile execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Iranian citizens retaliating with rioting, torching and looting the Saudi consular buildings in Tehran, which caused furor in Riyadh, causing the House of Saud and many others to cut diplomatic relations with the Iranian regime.
“A secret terrorist plot aided by the so-called Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Hezbollah terrorist organization was foiled,” state-run Bahrain News Agency reported Thursday. “It targeted the security of the kingdom of Bahrain by (plotting to) carry out a series of dangerous bombings.”
Ali Ahmed Fakhrawi, suspected as the terror cell’s leader, had recently met with the leader of Hezbollah. Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general who is subservient to the Iranian regime, gave Fakhrawi $20,000 dollars to commence the attack, according to Bahraini officials.
Iran publicly supports the Shiite majority in Bahrain, often using its state-media to engage in propaganda campaigns against the ruling monarchy there.
The terror arrest becomes the latest in many alleged Iran-backed terror activities inside Bahrain.
In July, Bahraini authorities said they uncovered a Tehran-backed plot to smuggle arms and explosives into the country. The Bahrain coast guard reported at the time its forces intercepted a marine vessel that had packed 97-pounds of C4 and several automatic rifles on board. “I tell them [Iran], you are implicated in subversive plots to disrupt Bahrain’s security. You train (terrorists) on the use of weapons and explosives. You export to us the culture of terrorism,” said Interior Minister Rashid Al Khalifa in response to the alleged Iranian activities.
Just days later, on July 29, Bahraini officials accused Iran of providing the weaponry for a terror attack outside of a girls’ school in Sitra, an island village in the country. “Preliminary details indicate that the explosives used in the terror attack in Sitra this morning are of the same type that smugglers have recently attempted to sneak from Iran into the Kingdom [of Bahrain],” read a report from Bahrain News Agency.
In October, Iran’s Ambassador to Bahrain was declared persona non grata after the Tehran regime was accused of setting up a bomb-making factory inside of the country. Iran is “supporting subversion, terrorism and incitement to violence through misleading media campaigns as well as assisting terrorist groups in the smuggling of weapons and explosives, and training their members, and harbouring fugitives from justice,” said a statement from the Bahrain Foreign Ministry.