Armed men attacked a prison in Bahrain on Sunday, killing a policeman and freeing 10 convicted inmates in what the interior ministry described as a terrorist act.
The ministry said four or five members of a “terrorist group” armed with automatic rifles and pistols attacked the Jau prison at 5.30am.
It said one policeman was killed and another wounded in the attack.
Seven of the escaped prisoners had been serving life sentences and three were serving lengthy jail terms for “terrorist acts”, the ministry added.
Police on Sunday set up or reinforced roadblocks near Shiite villages outside the capital, witnesses said.
Thousands of mainly Shiite Bahrainis are in jail on charges ranging from participating in anti-government protests to armed attacks on security forces inside Bahrain.
A court in January last year sentenced 57 men to 15-year jail terms for taking part in a 2015 riot inside Jau prison, which is located to the south of the capital, Manama.
In June, 17 prisoners broke out of Al Hadd jail east of Manama, but the authorities recaptured 11 of them the following day.
Bahrain quelled mass demonstrations in 2011 but continued to face occasional protests, mostly by majority Shiites demanding reforms and a bigger share in running the island state wedged between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Shiites complain of discrimination by the Sunni-led monarchy, a charge the government denies.
* Reuters and Agence France-Presse