Bahrain says Iran's Revolutionary Guard behind "terror" cell

Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:42am EST
 

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Bahrain has 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.

Bahraini authorities said on Sunday they had arrested eight Bahrainis in the group, with links to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

The kingdom, base for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in political turmoil since protests erupted there in 2011, led by majority Shi'ite Muslims demanding an end to the Sunni monarchy's political domination and full powers for parliament.

Bahrain has accused Shi'ite Iran of fuelling the unrest, an accusation Tehran has consistently denied.

In a statement published by the official Bahrain News Agency late on Tuesday, Bahrain's head of public security said the cell was part of a group called the "Imam Army" which included Bahrainis at home and abroad and members of other nationalities.

"Investigation has also revealed that a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard codenamed 'Abu Naser' masterminded the whole terror operation," the agency quoted public security chief Major-General Tariq Hassan al-Hassan as saying.

Abu Nasser supplied the group with $80,000, Hassan said, and instructed it to gather information, recruit and obtain weapons storage in Bahrain.

"MISTAKEN PATH"

The cell's planned targets included the Ministry of Interior and Bahrain International Airport, he said. The group attended training camps run by the Revolutionary Guard inside Iran, as well as some operated by Iraq's Hezbollah in Baghdad and the Iraqi city of Kerbala, Hassan added.   Continued...

 
Bahrain's police chief, Major General Tariq Al Hassan, speaks during a news conference in Manama July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed