Bahrain accuses Iran-backed group of planning assassinations

The 14-member cell is also suspected of being behind the bus bombing attack on police in the kingdom in February.

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An Iranian-backed “terrorist cell” that was plotting to assassinate senior officials has been dismantled, Bahrain’s state news agency said on Monday.

The interior ministry said the 14-member group was working under the direct supervision of two exiled Bahrainis living in Iran, one of them recently designated by the United States as a “global terrorist”, according to the Bahrain News Agency.

Six of those arrested received military training in camps under the supervision of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, five had been trained by the Iraqi Hizbollah group and three received training in Bahrain.

They are suspected of a bomb attack on a bus in February that injured five police officers.

The group is also suspected of plotting to attack “senior officials”, the interior ministry said.

It said weapons, locally-made explosives and communication equipment had been seized from the suspects’ homes.

The ministry said the cell was being financed and directed from Iran by Qassim Abdullah Ali and Mortada Majid Al Sanadi.

The US state department in March labelled Sanadi and another Bahraini identified as Ahmad Hasan Yusuf as “specially designated global terrorists”.

Iran’s government called the allegation a “futile and baseless lie”.

Earlier this month, Bahrain announced it had uncovered a group comprising 54 members suspected of involvement in attacks on security forces, including organising a prison break in January, and seizing automatic weapons.

Bahrain in February executed three men convicted of killing Emirati policeman First Lieutenant Tariq Al Shehi and two Bahraini policemen in a 2014 bomb attack.

Tensions have been rising in the kingdom since last year after authorities banned the main opposition group Al Wefaq, arrested a leading activist and revoked the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the country’s majority Shiites.

* Reuters and Associated Press