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Bahrain Seizes Iraqi Weapons Cache

Bahraini authorities seize bomb-making materials, weapons cache; move shows Gulf State's crackdown on terrorism.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 12/31/2013, 12:29 PM

Weapons (illustrative)
Weapons (illustrative)
Flash90

Bahraini authorities seized a massive weapons cache last week, as part of a major crackdown on terrorism in the Gulf State, according to Gulf Daily News.

Public Security chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan revealed on Monday that the cache, which was en route from Iraq, included Iran-made explosives, Syrian bomb detonators, Kalashnikovs, C-4 explosives, Claymores, hand grenades, a PK machine gun, circuit boards, armor-piercing explosives and TNT.

"Fifty Iranian-made hand bombs and 295 commercial detonators, on which was written 'made in Syria', were also found," Al Hassan added. "Our investigations revealed the persons caught were trained in camps located in Iraq and Iran."

"The investigations are still ongoing and we need to find out how these weapons were smuggled out from Iraq," he continued. 

Bahraini authorities arrested 17 people involved in the smuggling over Saturday and Sunday, including 13 who were already wanted for terrorist activities. One of them was a Saudi national.

Bahrain has been cracking down on terrorism in recent years, according to Arabian Business, due to rising sectarian tensions within its own country. The ruling Sunni Al Khalifa dynasty has been accused of suppressing its Shia opponents, after anti-government protests in 2011 demanded a greater role for the Sunni majority in legislation and politics.

Sectarian conflicts have been mushrooming across the Middle East - particularly in Syria and Iraq - from regional conflicts to an all-out Islamic holy war. After similar regional conflicts erupted in 2011, Bahrain appears to have cracked down on terrorist groups, in an attempt to keep its own regional issues from escalating. 

Earlier this year, Bahraini officials announced that they had dismantled a "terrorist cell" linked to Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, also in efforts to prevent an escalation in sectarian violence.

In April, Bahrain took another step: it became the first Arab country to blacklist Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, citing evidence that the group was attempting to incite terrorism from abroad.