MANAMA // An Emirati police officer serving in Bahrain was killed in a bomb attack during clashes between security forces and rioters.
First Lieutenant Tariq Al Shehi died after an improvised bomb exploded as security forces dispersed Shiite protesters in the village of Daih, near Manama.
Two other police officers with the Bahraini security forces were killed in the blast.
The Minister of Interior described the blast as a terrorist attack.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, denounced the bomb attack and stressed the importance of fighting terrorism.
He sent his sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the three who died.
The Ministry of Interior said Al Shehi had sacrificed his soul to protect innocent people.
The officer was said to be known among his colleagues and family for his good conduct, dedication, bravery and courage.
Al Shehi was part of a joint Arabian Gulf force deployed in 2011 to quell protests led by the kingdom's Shiite community.
The Gulf Wave Force included 500 police from the UAE and about 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia.
Al Salehi is the first Gulf officer to be reported killed since the forces arrived in Bahrain.
The attack happened after a group of protesters broke away from a procession mourning the death in custody last week of a 23-year-old Shiite.
Bahrain’s Interior ministry said the security forces had dispersed a “breakaway group of thugs”.
The explosion happened during a confrontation between protesters and police who fired tear gas and buckshot.
There has been an increase in attacks using improvised bombs against Bahrain’s security forces. A police officer was injured in a blast in the Shiite village of Akr Al Sharqi. Another officer was killed by a bomb blast during protests on February 14 to mark three years since protests began.
Bahrain brought the initial 2011 protests under control, but small demonstrations and clashes with security forces continue.
Bahrain’s Shiite majority has long complained of discrimination, a charge denied by the Sunni-led government. Authorities have introduced reforms and say they are willing to discuss further demands, but the opposition says there can be no progress until the government is chosen by elected representatives.
Opposition groups said yesterday they “regretted having casualties regardless of which side they belonged to, including security forces”.
* With reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Wam