Bahrain bombing kills two police officers
Two police officers were killed in what authorities described as a “terror” attack in Bahrain on Tuesday.
The interior ministry said that six other officers were wounded, one seriously, in a bombing on the island of Sitra, according to the state news agency.
“Injured taken to hospital. All necessary steps being taken in the case,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Bahrain’s security forces are regularly targeted with small bombs, mainly in villages outside the capital, but Tuesday’s bombing appeared to be unusually powerful.
The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, condemned the bombing and reiterated Abu Dhabi’s support for Bahrain’s actions to enhance its security.
The incident comes just days after Bahrain announced that two men had been arrested attempting to smuggle weapons and explosives into the country.
One of the men was reported to have received training in Iran, which in the past has been accused of fomenting unrest in Bahrain, a Shiite-majority country.
Iran denied involvement.
On Saturday, Manama said it had recalled its ambassador to Iran following a speech by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in which he said the recent nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers would not alter its support for “oppressed people” in the region, including in Bahrain.
Officials accused Mr Khamanei of interfering in Bahrain’s internal affairs.
While Bahrain remains largely peaceful, there have been protests by Shiites in Sitra, situated south of Manama, since the 1990s.
Last year, Emirati policeman First Lieutenant Tariq Al Shehi, who was serving in the joint Gulf Wave Force, was killed along with two Bahraini policemen in an explosion in the northern village of Daih, which lies west of the capital.
According to the Bahrain News Agency, the explosive used in Tuesday’s bombing was similar to the type carried by the two men caught trying to smuggle weapons into the country.
During that raid, carried out on July 15, authorities seized 44 kilograms of C4 explosive, detonators, eight Kalashnikov assault rifles, 32 Kalashnikov magazines, and ammunition.
The men admitted to “receiving the shipment from Iranian handlers outside Bahrain’s territorial waters”, the news agency reported.
The men also admitted to being involved in two prior “smuggling attempts” in 2013 and 2014.
Those who carry out bomb attacks in Bahrain “are committed individuals”, said Omar Mohamed, a research analyst at the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies. “The planning and follow through of some heinous attacks such as [Tuesday]’s bombing can unfortunately slip [by security forces].”
“While the weapons used and made by these groups are still quite amateur, they have grown in sophistication over the years due to the training they have received overseas and the networks they have built.”
Sawsan Taqawi, a member of Bahrain’s Shura Council and chair of the foreign affairs, defence and national security committee, said that Tuesday’s bombing was carried out by “sick souls who lost their humanity”.
She said that the explosives being similar to the ones confiscated from the smugglers proved Iran’s involvement.
“Our role in this situation requires us to work together as one to confront this systematic terrorism,” Ms Taqawi told The National.
Unrest among Bahrain’s Shiite-led opposition peaked during the 2011 Arab Spring. Opposition members maintain that the kingdom has not yet done enough to meet their demands for reforms.
Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group Al Wefaq condemned Tuesday’s bombing, insisting that it “categorically rejected” violence.
* With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse
Updated: July 28, 2015 04:00 AM