One person was hospitalized with serious burns and 18 shops were gutted in a fire at a traditional covered mall in the Bahraini capital, the civil defense force said Sunday.
The injured man was a salesman at one of the shops caught in the blaze on Saturday at a time when most of the souk was closed for lunch.
Fifty-five firefighters battled in the narrow lanes of the covered market for about 90 minutes to put out the blaze, Colonel James Windsor, chief of Bahrain's civil defense, told reporters.
The interior ministry said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
On May 6th, a pre-dawn blaze destroyed the country's largest cinema, which is popular with the expatriate Asian community, and damaged another movie theatre next door.
Until last year, Bahrain was often hit by arson attacks, with the Asian community a frequent target, in a wave of unrest which began in December 1994 and which claimed at least 38 lives.
The opposition's key demand has been the restoration of parliament, which Bahrain's former emir, Sheikh Issa bin Salman al-Khalifa, suspended in 1975.
But the troubles have eased since the death of Sheikh Issa in March 1999, and the accession of his son, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa - MANAMA (AFP)
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