Bahrain: Shiite leader calls Iran to stay away
Bahrain's Shiite opposition leader on Wednesday called on Tehran to keep out of the country's internal affairs. Sheikh Ali Salman also warned against Bahrain being used for a proxy war between rival regional superpowers Iran and Saudi Arabia.
"We urge Iran not to meddle in Bahraini internal affairs," he told a press conference, also demanding the withdrawal of Saudi-led Gulf troops in the kingdom. "We demand Saudi Arabia withdraw the Peninsula Shield forces," he said, according to AFP. "We do not want Bahrain to turn into a battlefield for Saudi Arabia and Iran."
A total of 24 people, four of them police, died in a month of unrest, Bahrain's Interior Minister Rashed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa said on Wednesday. He said that Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizbullah organization has trained Bahrainis in Lebanon, accusing it as being a "terrorist organization".
"We heard on television the Secretary-General of Hizbullah attacking Bahrain, accusing it of injustice and insulting its leaders in the most horrible words and vows that he will intervene and will have a role in what is happening in Bahrain. Is this not terrorism? This is real terrorism."
He added: " Hizbullah has been training elements in many places in the region and it is clear that there has been training in Lebanon for Bahrainis who took part in the protests. We have plenty of evidence and we will present it in a time to come."
The Bahraini minister said that "There is no panic, no panic in Bahrain, because the state has taken actions as to maintain security and order. No one intimidates us."
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