Sunday, 24 July 2016
Authorities in Bahrain have announced that they have broken up an Iran-backed terror cell, Reuters reportedon Friday.
Bahrain is an important American ally in the Persian Gulf and hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. It is ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family, but has a majority Shiite population.
According to authorities, five men, who reportedly received training in Iran and Iraq, had explosives as well as firearms and knives in their homes.
Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite extraterritorial militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force, threatenedBahrain’s royal family last month after the government stripped the country’s top Shiite cleric of citizenship over charges that he was fomenting sectarian divisions. “Al-Khalifa will definitely pay the price for that and their bloodthirsty regime will be toppled,” he said. Soleimani made his comments from Syria, despite being subject to an international travel ban due to his support for terrorism.
An analyst with ties to Iranian leadership reinforced this threat in an interview with the The New York Times, saying, “This shows that we have a new strategy of supporting an intifada in Bahrain.”
Bahrain announced in January that it had broken up a terror cell that was allegedly supported by the Revolutionary Guards and the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah. Days earlier, the country, along with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, cut or downgraded their tieswith Iran after rioters torched the Saudi embassy in Tehran in protest of Riyadh’s execution of a Shiite cleric.