Bahrain foils escape of six terrorism suspects

Plan to leave country by boat was hatched by fugitive in Iran

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa addresses the 14th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Manama Dialogue in the Bahraini capital Manama on October 27, 2018.   / AFP / STRINGER

Bahrain has foiled an attempt to smuggle six terrorism suspects out the country in a plan that was orchestrated from Iran, the state's news agency reported.

The fugitives were preparing to leave the country by boat from the Samaheej coast, the Bahrain News Agency said, without identifying the suspects or when they were arrested.

Investigators found that one of the suspects had been in contact with another fugitive in Iran who arranged the operation, and also identified and arrested people suspected of giving them shelter and assistance in Bahrain, BNA said.

It said the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science was referring those arrested to the public prosecution while investigation of the case continued.

Officials accuse Iran of fomenting the violence by providing training and weapons.

Last month the courts convicted seven citizens on terrorism charges over the bombing of an oil pipeline in November 2017. Two of them had received training in the “use and making of weapons and explosives in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard camps for the purpose of committing terrorist crimes in Bahrain”, prosecution officials said.

Six of the seven had their citizenship revoked, while five were handed life sentences. The other two were sentenced to jail terms of 10 and five years.

They were convicted of establishing a terrorist group, using explosives in a terrorist blast, and receiving financing and training in the use of weapons from terrorist groups.

In September, Bahrain charged 169 people suspected of being part of a militant group the courts called “Bahraini Hezbollah”, a local version of the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group.

They were accused of forming a terrorist group, planning assassinations and receiving training in handling weapons and manufacturing explosives. Only 111 of the suspects had been arrested, BNA reported at the time.

“The Public Prosecution had been informed by the Department of criminal investigation ...that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have ordered some of their members to work on unifying different Bahraini militant groups,” a statement carried by BNA said.

Last year, Bahrain sentenced 10 men to life terms for plotting attacks against the state. Three of them were sentenced in their absence after fleeing to Iran.


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