Bahrain arrests five suspects for deadly bombing

Published August 14th, 2015 - 02:58 GMT

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that five people suspected of orchestrating a deadly bomb attack in the country have been arrested.

The bomb blast, which occurred in the Sitra area, south of the capital Manama on July 28, killed two policemen and injured six others.

In addition to those arrested, two more suspects and three individuals who received financing and training from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah’s branch in Iraq have been identified.

“Police investigations have found that those arrested had connections to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as well as Hezbollah, and have been linked to a number of extremist incidents in Bahrain over recent years,” Chief of Police Major-General Tariq Al Hassan said in a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

One of the suspects said to have planted and detonated the explosive device that killed the two police officers is known to have spent time in Iran following his role in a deadly extremist attack in 2013 which killed a policeman, the police said.

The suspect, 24, is also accused of receiving training at a camp operated by Hezbollah.

In confessions aired by Bahrain Television on Thursday afternoon, the suspect said he had carried out several attacks on police security in Sitra and that he decided to leave Bahrain.

He added that he was taken with other people from Bahrain to Iran where he was met by three people who were reportedly members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The Bahraini group was moved to the Iranian city of Qum before they were transferred to Iraq where they were taken to a training camp about two hours away from Baghdad. There, he said, they were given intensive training on the use of weapons over several days.

The suspect then explained how, upon returning to Bahrain, they planted the bomb.

Other suspects who appeared on Bahrain Television gave details on how they detonated the bomb that targeted the bus carrying the policemen.

According to the chief of police, forensic tests of the Sitra bombsite indicate that high-grade explosives (C4) were used.

“This is similar to the substance seized during a foiled attempt by Iranian handlers to smuggle explosives into Bahrain on July 15, and similar to the substance found at a warehouse in the Dar Kulaib village on June 6. This is yet another disturbing incident in which Iranian actions are attempting to undermine security and stability within Bahrain.”

Al Hassan was referring to a joint counter-terrorism operation involving Bahraini security authorities that on July 15 disrupted an attempt to smuggle high-grade explosives, automatic weapons, and ammunition into Bahrain.

The Bahrain Coast Guard, in coordination with the Police Aviation Unit and Bahrain Royal Naval Force, intercepted a vessel heading towards Bahrain after meeting another vessel just outside Bahrain’s territorial waters.

Two Bahraini suspects were carrying a lethal mix of materials, including 43.8kg of the powerful C4 explosive, eight automatic assault rifles (Kalashnikovs), 32 Kalashnikov magazines, and ammunition and detonators. The suspects admitted receiving the shipment from Iranian handlers outside Bahrain’s territorial waters, the ministry said last month.

The bombing outside a school in Sitra was the worst since March 2014, when a blast killed three policemen.

The Ministry reiterated in its statement Thursday that the protection of citizens’ safety was its top priority and that security agencies were making every effort to counter any extremist threats.

The chief of police confirmed efforts to identify other suspects involved in plots were continuing.

“Statements provided by those arrested have already led to the discovery of various bombs and bomb making materials, including a ready-to-use bomb containing C4, remote controls, firearms, and other bomb making materials,” Al Hassan said.

The Sitra attack was widely condemned nationally and internationally with several countries expressing their solidarity with Bahrain and expressing full support.

By Habib Toumi

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