2/20/2013

Bahrain blames Iran for ‘terror cell’

GULFNEWS

Bahrain says Revolutionary Guard member masterminded terror cell
  • By Habib Toumi Bureau chief


Manama: A member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard masterminded the 12-member terror cell that was recently busted, said Bahrain’s police chief.
An Iranian national codenamed “Abu Nasser” was in command of the cell whose members, eight Bahrainis and four foreigners, were enlisted by a Bahraini recruited by two other Bahrainis living in the Iranian city of Qom during a visit there, Major General Tariq Al Hassan, the head of Public Security, said.
The cell targets in Bahrain included attacks on civilian and military installations as well as public figures, taking pictures and collecting information about sensitive areas and sites, setting up armed groups to fight and attack security staff and mobilising people to join the groups, the police chief said at a press conference on Tuesday evening.
Training conducted in camps run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Iran and by the Iraqi Hezbollah in Karbala and Baghdad included the use of light and medium guns and explosives, including C4, data collection, picture taking and recruitment, he said.
According to Al Hassan, the cell was a prelude to setting up Jaish Al Imam (The Imam’s Army) to carry out acts of terror in Bahrain. The cell members were also asked to prepare stores for the weapons to be smuggled into Bahrain. They moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and were given around $80,000 (Dh293,764), he said.
The police chief said that the cell had already taken photos of civilian and military sites belonging to the interior ministry as well as the airport and other important installations.
Five suspects were arrested in Bahrain and three in Oman, he said. Oman responded to the Bahraini request to arrest them under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) security pact signed by all six member countries.
On Saturday, Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the interior minister, said that a fellow brotherly country helped with the arrest.
“These arrests were made with the cooperation of a fellow brotherly country,” he said during an address on Bahrain TV.
Kuwaiti media speculated that the country that the minister did not name was Kuwait.
The eight suspects, all Bahrainis, were referred to the public prosecution last month. The other four, known only by their nicknames and believed to be Iranians and Iraqis, are on the run.
Al Hassan said that Bahrain’s security agencies became aware of the cell in May, and have been shadowing its members since then.
“I cannot reveal more facts because the case is now with the public prosecution,” Al Hassan said.