MANAMA // Bahrain has dismantled a "terrorist cell" linked to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, the interior minister said, slamming what he called "escalation" in the kingdom as the Shiite opposition intensifies its protests.
Security services "have, with the help of a brotherly country, arrested the members of a terrorist cell made up of eight Bahraini elements", the state news agency BNA quoted Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa as saying.
The eight "moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and received training in using arms and explosives as well as financial aid", he said. "Details about the case will be announced as soon as the investigation is completed."
Sheikh Rashid also denounced the "escalation in violence" in the Sunni-ruled kingdom where a protester and a policeman were killed during Shiite-led protests on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of a 2011 uprising there.
He said "terrorist acts had taken place over the past three days" in which "two people were killed and 75 policemen were wounded", adding that "there has been an escalation ... with the use of firearms" and explosives.
Bahraini police on Friday found a two-kilogram bomb containing "highly explosive material" on the causeway connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and four people were arrested after four policemen were wounded by buckshot on Friday night.
Witnesses said that authorities have arrested many Shiite activists over the past few days.
Bahrain has suffered two years of political upheaval linked to opposition demands for a constitutional monarchy, with the unrest claiming at least 80 lives, according to international rights groups.
The latest unrest comes against the background of a fresh round of talks between opposition groups and the government that began last week.