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Bahrain names citizen living in Iran as suspect in foiled attacks

By Reuters - Jan 04,2014 - Last updated at Jan 04,2014

DUBAI –– Bahrain has named a Bahraini citizen who lives in Iran as a main suspect in what it called planned “terrorist acts” and said he and his collaborators had received training and other help from Tehran.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, said last Monday it had foiled an attempt to smuggle arms and explosives, some made in Iran and Syria, into the country by boat.

The Gulf Arab kingdom has been rattled by bouts of unrest since February 2011, when protests led by members of its Shiite majority population demanded that the Sunni ruling family give up ultimate power to an elected parliament.

Bahrain’s chief prosecutor Osama Al Oufi, cited by the state BNA news agency, said the suspect behind the smuggling operation, Ali Mafoudh Al Moussawi, was accused of “planning to commit terrorist acts and planting explosives targeting vital installations, and sovereign and security locations”.

Moussawi recruited a number of people to be trained in Iran to carry out attacks and formed a group to smuggle the weapons and explosives into Bahrain, BNA said.

Several members of the group were arrested and confessed to having been trained by Iranians at camps for the Islamic Republic’s elite Revolutionary Guard, BNA said late on Thursday.

“The accused confessed that they had joined the group to... commit terrorist acts with religious motivations from their points of view,” Oufi said, according to BNA.

Other members of the group are still at large in Iran and Iraq, he said, adding that two of those arrested while trying to smuggle the arms spoke an Iraqi dialect of Arabic.

The Manama government, dominated for generations by the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family, accuses Bahrain’s opposition of having a Shiite sectarian agenda, and links to Tehran and to Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizbollah.

The opposition denies this, saying such allegations are a pretext for avoiding democratic reforms. Tehran also denies any link, but champions the cause of the opposition while Hizbollah has criticised Manama’s crackdown on Shiite protesters.

In February, Bahrain accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of setting up a militant cell to assassinate public figures in the Gulf Arab kingdom and attack its airport and government buildings.

Bahrain’s Shiite opposition groups suspended their participation in reconciliation talks with the government after the arrest of a senior member of Al Wefaq, the main opposition group, in September.

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