Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
Members of Iran's Revolutionary GuardsReuters

Bahrain said on Saturday that it had arrested 116 people accused of belonging to a "terror" cell allegedly linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, AFP reported.

A statement quoted by the state news agency BNA said that security services had in the process thwarted a number of attacks and seized large quantities of arms and explosives.

Authorities in Bahrain have cracked down hard on dissent since mass street protests in 2011 which demanded an elected prime minister and constitutional monarchy in the Sunni-ruled, Shiite majority kingdom.

Saturday’s statement charged that the cell whose members were arrested planned to target leading security figures and carry out attacks on oil and other vital installations.

It accused those detained of being members of a cell formed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and said that as many as 48 of those detained had received military training in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

They received training on the use of explosives, light arms, artillery and rocket-propelled grenades, the statement charged.

Police seized 42 kilograms (93 pounds) of high explosives, 757 kilograms of materials used to manufacture explosives, several Kalashnikovs and grenades, it said.

Bahrain frequently accuses opposition figures of links to Shiite Iran, which denies supporting any bid to overthrow the government. In 2015 Bahrain recalled its ambassador from Iran over these charges.

In October, Bahrain's interior minister accused Iran of harboring 160 Bahrainis convicted of terrorism and stripped of their citizenship.

Last March, Bahrain claimed it had broken an Iranian-linked "terrorist cell" suspected of involvement in a bomb attack on a police bus and plotting to assassinate senior officials,.

At the time, the kingdom's Interior Ministry said that the 14-member cell was working under direct supervision from two exiled Bahrainis living in Iran.

Several weeks earlier, a 54-member terrorist organization involved in prison breaks and attacks on security forces was uncovered by Bahrain. 25 members of that group were arrested, while the others were at large.

In 2013 Bahrain became the first Arab country to blacklist Iranian-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.