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Bahrain: Manama Bombing Targeted UK Embassy

Officials in Bahrain say the British embassy in Manama was the likely target of Sunday's mini-bus bombing - won't rule out Iran as culprit.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/5/2011, 7:40 PM

Yesterday's bombing in downtown Manama likely targeted the British embassy, a spokesman for Bahrain's Interior Ministry said.

"Taking into consideration the location of the blast, the nearest target is the British embassy," Lieutenant Colonel Saleh Salem said.

Salem did not rule out links between the blast and the high anti-British feelings in Iran, saying "all possibilities are open at this stage of the investigations."

However, Salem added there was no doubt that the inflammatory speeches by Iran's officials "sparked reactions in Bahrain."

"There is also the training on dangerous devices and substances in Syria that we had noted," he said.

According to Salem, the blast occurred after midnight and was caused by explosives placed under the front left wheel of a mini bus parked near the wall of the British embassy, some 50 meters from the main building.

"The explosion blew off the wheel, shattered the windshield and the left side windows and damaged the front of the vehicle," he said.

Five cars parked near the blast site on Government Avenue were also damaged in the blast.

The embassy is located in the Ras Romman area, a few blocks away from the city center in Bahrain's capital.

"Given the strength of the explosion and the debris it scattered, it was a highly-explosive substance. Debris was found approximately 32 meters from the blast site. The explosion also left a 30-centimeter crater under the vehicle," he said.

"We thank God that there were no injuries or loss of life in the incident," Salem added.

However, he noted the material used in the blast was still being examined at the ministry's laboratories.

Security around diplomatic missions in Manama has been beefed up and the interior ministry has urged citizens and residents to report any "suspicious car stationed near vital establishments."

Last week Britain recalled its envoy to Iran and ordered the Iranian ambassador out of London after protesters sacked the UK embassy in Tehran – an act British officials say was orchestrated by Iranian officials.

British embassy officials told reporters it was "business as usual" at the embassy in Bahrain, adding that there were no plans to recall embassy staff.