Forces ‘looking for fugitives’ at house of Ayatollah Shaikh Isa Qassim
- Published: 16:56 May 17, 2013
London: Bahraini security forces raided the house of top Shi’ite cleric Ayatollah Shaikh Isa Qassim on Friday, the opposition said.
Bahrain has been in violent turmoil since the opposition-led pro-democracy protests erupted in 2011.
Protests continue and often end in clashes between demonstrators and police. At least two people have died this year.
Security personnel forced open the door of Shaikh Isa’s home in the village of Duraz in the early hours of Friday morning and searched the house, Bahrain’s main opposition bloc Al Wefaq said on its website.Women and children from the shaikh’s family were in the house at the time of the raid, but the shaikh was not at home, Al Wefaq said. No one was hurt.
The statement said the teams searched the home and left, but police helicopters patrolled the area for hours after.
A Bahraini government official had no immediate comment.
A leading Bahrain human rights activist said the reason for the raid was not known, but he believed security forces had entered the shaikh’s house in pursuit of some fugitives who had fled there from a neighbouring house.
“This is the first time (his house was raided) and it’s hugely offensive for a huge number of Shi’ites in Bahrain,” said Mohammad Al Maskati, president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.
“People see him as a red line. I expect that this will cause a big reaction.”