Bahrain crowd attacks U.S. sailors, pregnant bride
A United States sailor and his Ethiopian bride remained hospitalized Monday after they were attacked by a crowd when their car hit a local woman outside a store.
The newlyweds were under observation at the military hospital in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, Navy spokesman Lt. Chris Davis said. He would not identify the patients but said their conditions were "not life threatening."
However, a U.S. Embassy statement said the sailor's wife, who is three months pregnant, was seriously hurt, according to AP.
Another sailor who was in the car with the couple, was treated Monday at the Bahrain Defense Forces hospital and released, Davis said. According to him, the three went to the Farshat Al-Areas store some 15 kilometers southwest of Manama, seeking a refund of the $79.50 deposit the woman placed on a wedding dress.
The store refused to pay in full and an argument spilled into the street, attracting a crowd and causing a traffic jam, Davis said.
"They were trying to leave the area and struck a local woman in the process," Davis told AP. "They tried to check on her, and when they got down to help her the crowd took offense on them."
The crowd smashed the car windows and beat its occupants, he explained. Davis and the U.S. Embassy said only two U.S. sailors were involved in the incident.
However, Abdul Hadi Yousif, whose wife owns the shop, and other Bahrainis at the scene said more servicemen showed up as matters heated up. Yousif said at least seven U.S. personnel were involved.
He said his 26-year-old sister-in-law was hit by the car and suffered a fractured leg. Yousif said the sailors began destroying the shop, punching his wife and her sister, who is three months pregnant. Two Indian tailors employed at the store tried to intervene and were beaten by the sailors, he said.
"It is the Americans who started the fight," Yousif said. "They owed us money and they wanted us to pay them. This is unbelievable."
Police intervened, and witnesses said the crowd of up to 500 chanted "Death to America!" and called for U.S. forces to leave the kingdom. The crowd dispersed around five hours later.
Officials at Salmaniya Hospital, where witnesses said some shop employees were taken, refused to comment.
U.S. Navy and Bahraini authorities were investigating, the U.S. Embassy statement said. Davis said no charges had been filed yet. (Albawaba.com)
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