UK and Syria help Bahrain fight terror

UK and Syria help Bahrain fight terror

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Bahrain is working in tandem with security forces in Syria and the UK to bring to book those behind the plot, it was revealed yesterday.

Investigations are continuing here and abroad, Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa told MPs and Shura Council members.

Fourteen Bahrainis were arrested after police uncovered a plan to attack targets including clubs, Manama nightspots, Exhibition Road and the Diplomatic Area, on December 17, during the National Day holiday.

They have all allegedly admitted receiving extensive training in Syria in how to make weapons and use explosives, in a conspiracy allegedly directed by two Bahrainis living in London and others in Bahrain.

More revelations related to the plot have been uncovered and will be made public once investigations are complete, Shaikh Rashid told the National Assembly members during a closed-door briefing.

The case is still being investigated in co-operation with internal and external parties, he said.

"There are new revelations and details related to the case, which we will announce as soon as we finish our new investigations," said Shaikh Rashid.

He said some people had criticised the handling of the case, which he was willing to debate in public.

"I am willing to accept a call for a public debate on the case and I welcome all opinions in regard to it, considering that no-one wants to see the same thing happen again," said Shaikh Rashid.

Officers recovered explosives after raiding the homes of those allegedly involved in the plot and all the suspects have since confessed on national television.

The plot allegedly involved ambushing policeman, des-troying public property, attacking shopping malls, markets and hotels.

The suspects allegedly travelled to Syria as tourists in July and August and then met one of the two "masterminds" from the UK.

The masterminds allegedly planned to smuggle a large quantity of weapons into Bahrain to be used for acts of violence and sabotage.

Shaikh Rashid said that everyone should bear in mind the dangers of the terror plot and that if it had happened, a lot of people would have been harmed.

"Doubters and those who have different interpretations to some legal articles, which we could debate at any time with in a clear and transparent manner, should never forget that if this plot had gone ahead, the country would have been on the losing end, as lives were at stake," he said. "All of the procedures we have carried out were according to the law and will always be so."

Shaikh Rashid urged all political and civil powers to think of the country first, as unity is the main aim for everyone in the country.

"This case has brought us together and certainly through public debate we will certainly come up with solutions and preventive measures to ensure that these kind of terrorist acts stay away from our peaceful society," he said.

Shaikh Rashid was speaking to members of parliament and Shura foreign affairs, defence and national security committee members, who condemned the plot and praised security forces for foiling it.

The meeting was called for by parliament foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman and Al Asala MP Shaikh Adel Al Maawada.

It was held in closed session, but the Press were briefed afterwards.

"We have talked with Shaikh Rashid on everything in regard to the case and the action the ministry was taking to stop the activities of the two masterminds in the UK and the legality of publishing the suspects’ pictures in the Press and their confessions on national television," said Shaikh Al Maawada.

"We thank our security forces for their huge efforts in protecting people’s safety and well-being, as their fast action has prevented society from the enormity of a criminal plan, which if it had gone ahead would have caused a lot of harm.

"However, there are concerns from some people over the suspects’ well-being and we hope that their rights are protected in line with the constitution and the law."

Shura foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman Ahmed Bahzad said that tough legislation should be introduced to stop those thinking of similar acts in future.

"If this plot had gone ahead, God forbid, a national disaster would have happened in which a lot of innocent people and victims would have lost their lives."

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