On 28 July Bahrain has endured the single worst terrorist atrocity in the Kingdom for well over a year, with two policemen dead and several fatally injured, following an explosion in Sitra. The details of this incident are still unclear, but for Bahrainis this shocking attack falls into an inescapable context:
This attack occurred only two days after a shipment of weapons and explosives was impounded arriving from Iran and during a period when several car loads of bomb-making materials have been discovered on the causeway between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
In each case those involved had links to Iran and had received training from Iran. Elements of the terrorist organization, Al-Ashtar Brigades were also recently arrested and were found to have received support from Iran, with the group’s leaders still sitting in Tehran.
On 14 July a militant was killed in Al-Eker while trying to plant a bomb to ambush policemen. During late 2013 and early 2014 there were several similar incidents where militants were killed and injured while manufacturing and transporting bombs.
This increasing pattern of incidents and seizures strongly suggests an Iranian-sponsored escalation to instigate terrorist incidents across Bahrain. Bahrainis should convey their strongest appreciation to the security forces for the number of incidents which have been foiled, and our sincerest condolences that they are bearing the pain of these terrorist attacks. Our thoughts today are with the families and loved ones of those who have been killed.
In March 2014 four policemen were killed in two separate incidents, with today’s two deaths bringing the number of security forces personnel killed since the beginning of the 2011 unrest to 18.
These kind of attacks have nothing to do with a desire for political reform or greater respect for human rights. These attacks seek to spread fear, instability and discord in Bahrain.
The opposition must now not only condemn this specific attack in the strongest terms – it should respond to the mounting evidence that foreign states have been funding and supporting opposition militants, without trying to imply that the police are to blame
We cannot claim any special knowledge about this attack only hours after it has occurred; but after months of trying to ship large quantities of weapons and explosives into Bahrain; after overseeing the training of dozens of Bahraini militants in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere; and after a consistent pattern of inflammatory public statements; there is one state entity which will have a lot of work to do if it wants to convince Bahrainis that its hands are clean.