By Courtney Trenwith
Bahraini authorities say 17 arrested as materials used to make bombs intended for ‘terrorist attacks’ discovered on board ship
Bahraini police have arrested 17 people and confiscated a cache of weapons and bomb-making material in what they say is a major coup against terrorism in the island kingdom.
The weapons haul includes Iran-made explosives, Syrian bomb detonators, Kalashnikovs, C-4 explosives, Claymores, hand grenades, a PK machine gun, circuit boards, armour-piercing explosives, TNT and other materials used to manufacture bombs, Public Security chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan revealed on Monday, according to Gulf Daily News.
Some of the arms were seized from a ship believed to have been sailing from Iraq to smuggle the weapons into Bahrain.
Other items were found during a raid on an illegal weapons depot near one of the country’s main highways.
The 17 suspects were arrested on Saturday and Sunday. Thirteen of them already were wanted by authorities and were allegedly attempting to flee the country on a high-speed boat heading north when they were detained.
Bahrain has been marred by anti-government protests since 2011 as the majority Sunni population demand a greater role in governance of the country.
The ruling Shia Al Khalifa dynasty has clamped down on opponents, including taking measures that have been criticised by international human rights organisations. It claims the protests and violence are acts of terror.
On the same day the arrests were made public, Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa promised to increase security even further to “stave off any dangers and protect national stability”, the state news agency reported.
"There is no hesitation when it comes to declaring the security alert to confront any dangerous developments jeopardizing people's safety and take action against all those involve in such subversive acts,” Al Khalifa said.