07 Feb 2018 - 19:05
Bahrain accuses Iran of training oil pipeline 'bombers'
Dubai: Bahrain said Wednesday it had arrested four men suspected of bombing a Saudi Aramco oil pipeline, accusing Iran of training and arming two of the suspects.
The blast on November 10 cut off the pipeline linking Bahrain's Bapco refinery with oil giant Aramco's main pumping station in neighbouring Saudi Arabia's Dhahran province.
Authorities at the time blamed "terrorists" for the explosion.
The interior ministry said Wednesday that four Bahraini men, aged 23 to 27, had been arrested for "plotting" and "remotely bombing" the pipeline outside the capital Manama.
Two of the four had received "intensive training at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard camps with the help of the leading fugitive terrorists living in Iran," it said in a statement.
Three others remain at large, according to the statement.
The interior ministry accused all seven of belonging to the "February 14 Coalition" -- a reference to a protest movement that emerged in 2011 against the Al-Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled Bahrain for more than two centuries.
Protests have continued to rock the Sunni-ruled, Shiite-majority kingdom as authorities escalate their clampdown on political dissent, frequently accusing opposition figures of links to Shiite Iran.
Since 2011, hundreds of Bahrainis have been stripped of their citizenship and protestors and opposition leaders jailed or driven into exile.
Bahrain accuses Tehran of supporting the opposition in a bid to overthrow the government, but Tehran denies involvement.
Manama has drawn harsh criticism from leading rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, over its treatment of the opposition.
A key ally of Washington located between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.