Bahrain breaks up plot by Iranian-backed terrorists

Foiled plot to launch attacks on diplomats and foreigners was allegedly act of revenge for elimination of Soleimani.

Elad Benari ,

Manama at night, Bahrain
Manama at night, Bahrain

Bahrain broke up a plot by militants backed by Iran to launch attacks on diplomats and foreigners in the nation which is home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet, The Associated Press reported on Sunday, citing Saudi state television and local media.

Details about the claimed plot remained scarce Sunday night as Bahrain's Interior Ministry and its state media did not publicly acknowledge the arrests.

Bahraini government officials, who routinely claim breaking up plots by militants backed by Iran, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Saudi state TV report aired footage of what appeared to be police raiding a home with a hidden passage. The footage showed assault rifles and explosives, apparently seized in the raid.

Nine suspects have been arrested, while another nine are believed to be in Iran, the Saudi state TV report said.

Iranian state media acknowledged the reports of the Bahraini arrests, but no official commented on them. Iran's mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities uncovered the plot after finding an explosive on the street believed to have been planted to target a “foreign delegation,” the pro-government Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej reported, citing the Interior Ministry.

The ministry accused the Guard of supporting the terrorists, who also had surveilled oil sites and military bases, the newspaper said. They also planned on assassinating bodyguards of Bahraini officials, the newspaper said.

It wasn't clear when all the arrests and alleged plots took place, as the Akhbar Al-Khaleej report referred to incidents dating as far back as 2017.

The report comes amid high tensions between Iran and the US. The militants reportedly sought revenge for the US drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.

The report also comes days after Bahrain normalized relations with Israel alongside the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain's interior minister said this week that normalizing ties with Israel protects Bahrain's interests and strengthens its strategic partnership with the United States.