– BLAST NEAR BRITISH EMBASSY IN BAHRAIN
Interior Ministry spokesman Salah Salem described the material as “highly explosive” and said it was undergoing further analysis. Authorities gave no details on possible suspects, but security has been boosted sharply across Bahrain during annual Shiite Muslim religious ceremonies. Salem said the blast ripped away one of wheels from the minibus and shattered its windows in a public parking lot about 50 yards (meters) from the British Embassy in the capital, Manama.
Bahrain’s majority Shiites, with strong ties to Iran, began an uprising in February 2011 seeking greater rights from the Gulf kingdom’s Sunni rulers (see -BahraIn 2011 Crisis ). Some apparent Sunni protesters have jeered or tossed stones at the Shiite religious processions in recent days.
It was not immediately clear whether the blast’s proximity to the embassy was intentional. It comes less than a week after mobs in Iran’s capital stormed the British Embassy and a residential compound for diplomatic staff, leading Britain to pull its diplomats from Iran and expel Iranian envoys from London (see – Tehran 11.29.11).
Bahrain’s rulers claim Iran has links to Shiite protesters in the strategic Gulf island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Shiite leaders in Bahrain deny any connections to Tehran and an independent commission report into the unrest also found no evidence of ties.
On Sunday, a military court sentenced three sportsmen — all Shiite employees of the Bahrain armed forces — to one year each in prison on charges that included disobeying orders to stay away from demonstrations.
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03/2011 –THE SAUDI MOVE
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