Saudi state media reported on Sunday that Bahrain foiled a terrorist attack this year allegedly plotted by a group calling itself the “Qasem Soleimani Brigade,” which acted with the support of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), itself a designated terrorist organization.
The Saudi state television report included footage of police raiding a home, discovering a hidden storage area, and seizing rifles and explosives. The report said the terrorists were planning an attack to avenge Brig. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the IRGC officer killed on Iraqi soil by a U.S. drone strike in January.
Bahrain is a Sunni Muslim island monarchy with a restless Shiite majority population. Iran is the major Shiite power in the Middle East. Bahrain is an important base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, and last week it joined the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel.
The Interior Ministry of Bahrain confirmed on Sunday that it foiled a “terrorist attack” this year backed by the IRGC. Although the Saudi television report implied the terrorist plot and police raid were very recent developments, the ministry said the prosecution has been in progress since early this year.
“We want to make clear that this case goes back to early 2020 and it is currently being looked into by the relevant court,” the ministry said.
A Bahraini newspaper on Sunday reported that authorities discovered a roadside bomb on a public street, apparently intended to target a visiting foreign delegation. The police raid Saudi media described was said to have captured bomb-making equipment, a trove of foreign currency, and “books related to terrorist ideology.”
The Bahraini report said the terrorism case included 18 defendants, nine of them fugitives currently living in Iran. It described the “Qasem Soleimani Brigade” as linked to an existing militant Shiite group called the Al-Ashtar Brigade that has carried out several terrorist attacks in Bahrain, two of them lethal.
IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami released a message on Saturday, directed to U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he threatened revenge against everyone responsible for the death of Soleimani.
Salami disputed reports that Iran planned to assassinate U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks on the grounds that Iran would never hit a mere “female ambassador” to avenge “our martyred brother” Soleimani.
“We will hit those who had direct and indirect roles. You should know that everybody who had a role in the event will be hit, and this is a serious message. We do prove everything in practice,” Salami threatened.
“Mr. Trump! Our revenge for martyrdom of our great general is obvious, serious and real!” the Iranian general insisted.