x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Bahrain accepts resignations of Shiite opposition MPs

11 Al Wefaq MPs quit in protest over deadly clampdown on protests in Bahrain .

MANAMA // Bahrain's parliament yesterday formally accepted the resignations of 11 legislators from the Shiite opposition.

The 40-member house approved the resignations of the 11 Al Wefaq legislators, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

They and seven other Al Wefaq members submitted resignations last month over the deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters. The agency reported parliament postponed deliberations on the six other resignations.

Bahrain has declared emergency rule and invited a GCC force to help quell a month of Shiite-led protests demanding greater freedoms. A total of 24 people were killed, including four policemen, during protests allegedly linked to Lebanon's Hizbollah, the interior minister said yesterday.

"Four policemen died, in addition to seven innocent civilians ... and 13 of those who took part in violence and vandalism," Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa told parliament.

He said 391 policemen were wounded, along with 56 Bahrainis and other nationals. Four other policemen were kidnapped and tortured.

Sheikh Rashed accused the protesters of being linked to Hizbollah, as proven by the demonstrators' methods as well as statements of support from the Shiite militant group and Iran.

In Tehran yesterday, the Iranian defence minister lashed out at the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain, saying their deployment may become "incendiary" for the whole Gulf region.

* With reporting by Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Bloomberg