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Middle East

Bahrain uncovers terror cell with Germany-based leader, says chief prosecutor

Police have arrested more than 20 members of a militant group suspected of launching attacks against security forces. The chief prosecutor said one of the group's leaders is a fugitive living in Germany.

Bahrain uncovered a 54-member "terrorist organization" involved in prison breaks and attacks on security forces, reported the state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) on Saturday.

Police arrested 25 members of the militant group, 10 of whom were former inmates, the report said. The remaining suspects appeared to be at large.

The suspects face 16 charges, including killing two police officers during a prison break, attempted murder of another police officer, sheltering terrorists and joining a terrorist group. Prosecutors said only four of the suspects denied the charges.

Authorities said they found "large quantities of explosives, detonators and hand grenades" alongside pistols and AK-47 assault rifles.

Bahrain's chief prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi told BNA that several of the militant group's operations had been planned from outside the country, including from Germany.

"One of the group's leaders is based in Germany, where he helped several members go to Iran and Iraq to receive training on using explosives and firearms at the Revolutionary Guard camps ahead of carrying out their terrorist crimes in Bahrain," al-Hammadi said.

In February, Bahrain executed three men found guilty of perpetrating a bomb attack that led to the death of three police officers in 2014.

Bahrain's Sunni-ruling authorities have faced backlash from the Shiite-majority population after banning the main opposition group, arresting anti-government activists and revoking the citizenship of the country's Shiite spiritual leader.

Manama frequently accuses Iran of fomenting civil unrest and supporting attacks against security forces, allegations which Tehran has long denied.

Bahrain's Shiite-majority population continues to protest for democratic reforms and representation in the Sunni-ruled government

Bahrain's Shiite-majority population continues to protest for democratic reforms and representation in the Sunni-ruled government

ls/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)