Bahrain on Saturday said it had arrested 116 members of a militant network established and supported by Iran's Revolutionary Guard that was plotting attacks on officials, security forces and oil installations.
"Comprehensive investigations revealed the suspected terrorists were members of a network formed and supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)," Bahrain's interior ministry said.
Investigators found sites used by the militants to manufacture and store explosives, as well as weapons such as pistols, automatic rifles and grenades, according to a ministry statement on the official Bahrain News Agency.
"The network was planning to target Bahraini officials, members of the security authorities and vital oil installations, with the objective of disturbing public security and harming the national economy," it said.
The ministry said 48 of the 116 people arrested had received training at Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) facilities in Iran and affiliated locations in Iraq and Lebanon.
The investigations showed that terror cells within the network were operating under the supervision of IRGC-affiliated groups and fugitive terrorist leaders in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
By providing material, recruitment and training support to terrorists, the IRGC and its affiliates, including the Asaib Ahl Al Haq in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon, were directly responsible for the intensification of terrorist activity in Bahrain, the ministry said.
It named Aqeel Al Sari, Murtadha Al Sindi and Qassim Al Muamen as among the leaders of the network who were responsible for "recruiting terrorists in Bahrain, arranging firearms and explosives training for terrorists, establishing secret warehouses and hideouts, and supplying terrorist groups with funding, firearms and explosives to carry out attacks".
The explosive materials recovered by investigators included about 42 kilograms of high-grade C4 and TNT, and more than 757kg of urea nitrate.
They also found magnetic bombs, mines and four fragmentation bombs which can be fired through an RPG launcher and used to destroy light armoured vehicles. A forensic examination showed that three of the bombs matched the specifications of the PG7 manufactured by Iranian ordnance factories, the ministry said.
Kalashnikovs, pistols, ammunition and detonators were also found.
Since anti-government street protests swept across Bahrain in 2011, Manama has blamed Iran for planting “terrorist cells” in the country.
The interior ministry said in January it had arrested 47 terrorists last year after uncovering several plots to assassinate officials and public figures. Those arrested belonged to three main groups that have been internationally designated as terrorist organisations, the ministry said, without elaborating.
Iran denies it is interfering in Bahrain’s domestic affairs by supporting terror cells in the country.