Bahrain says that it thwarted an Iran-backed plot to bomb Bahraini territory and Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports.
“Bahrain said on Thursday it had seized explosives and bomb-making materials earmarked for use in Bahrain and neighboring Saudi Arabia in what it described as an Iranian attempt to use Bahraini borders as a base for attacking targets in the region,” notes the article.
“Police chief Major-General Tariq al-Hasan said the methods used to assemble the explosives bore ‘clear similarities’ to those of what he called proxy groups of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp operating in Iraq and Afghanistan,” it adds.
Among the seized items were powerful explosive C4, commercial detonators, advanced circuitry, chemicals, and mobile phones.
The confiscated explosives and bomb-making material “represent a significant escalation in attempts to smuggle explosives into Bahrain,” said Gen. Hasan.
The general mentioned that the confiscated materials had been manufactured with “professionalism,” which he said is an indication that an international player was behind making them.
“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,” declared the general.
According to the official Bahrain News Agency, Mohammed Jaffar Abdullah, who was allegedly working for a cell formed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to launch attacks, revealed the location of the items.
The explosives and bomb-manufacturing materials were hidden behind the wall of a warehouse in the village of Dar Kulaib near the Bahraini capital of Manama, added the country’s official news outlet.
Bahraini authorities reportedly raided the warehouse on June 6.
Shiite powerhouse Iran is often accused by Sunni-led Bahrain of seeking to undermine the Bahraini monarchy, notes Reuters, allegations that the Islamic Republic denies.
“Iran denies interfering in Bahrain, although it acknowledges it does support opposition groups seeking greater political and economic rights for Bahrain’s Shi’ite community,” reports Reuters.
The Islamic Republic of Iran reportedly urged political talks in Bahrain, but also criticized the Gulf Arab Island monarchy’s efforts to alleviate the country’s political tensions.
According to Reuters, the leaders of the alleged Iranian cell were identified as Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Al Sindi, 32, and Qassim Abdullah Ali, 26, considered “fugitives in Iran wanted for previous offences.”
Bahrain has banned the Shiite opposition group known as Saraya al-Ashtar, accusing them of being partly responsible for the increasing number of attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), also known as homemade bombs, some of which have been fatal.
Saraya al-Ashtar, along with other Shiite opposition groups, have been designated as terrorist organizations by Bahrain.