Terror suspects are named
Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain
Prosecutors have named members of an alleged terrorist cell responsible for stashing and smuggling huge amounts of weapons into Bahrain.
Police revealed on Monday that 17 people had been arrested in connection with a massive anti-terrorism operation.
Iranian-made explosives, Syrian bomb detonators, Kalashnikovs, C-4 explosives, Claymores, hand grenades, a PK machine gun, armour-piercing explosives, TNT and a raft of materials used to make bombs were seized.
Some were found during a raid of an illegal weapons depot near the Budaiya Highway and the rest at sea as they were being smuggled in from Iraq.
Ten of the suspects are said to be part of a group that smuggled explosives and weapons into Bahrain to carry out attacks after receiving military training at camps belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
However, only five of them are in custody.
Chief Prosecutor Osama Al Oufi said Bahraini Ali Ahmed Mahfoudh Al Mousawi, who lives in Iran, was the mastermind who recruited people to carry out terrorist attacks targeting key establishments.
"He is also accused of jeopardising the safety and security of the kingdom, terrorising citizens and residents, disturbing public peace, spreading chaos and preventing government institutions and authorities from performing their functions," he said.
"The accused recruited a number of people in Bahrain, formed an organised terrorist group to smuggle weapons and explosives into the kingdom, and carry out assignments to commit terrorist acts.
"In executing this plan, the accused succeeded in recruiting a number of Bahrainis to join the group, arranged for their travel to Iran to receive weapons and explosives training, martial arts, marine navigation skills and methods of smuggling and concealing weapons and ammunition into Bahrain."
Speaking during a Press conference at the Public Prosecution in the Diplomatic Area, Mr Al Oufi admitted members of the group had smuggled a shipment of weapons and explosives into Bahrain.
He said Mr Al Mousawi had also requested a meeting with another leader of the group in Iraq to co-ordinate the smuggling of another shipment of explosives and weapons.
This led the Public Prosecution to issue an arrest warrant for 10 of the suspects and search their homes to seize weapons and explosives.
Mr Al Oufi said following surveillance two of the wanted men were detained on a boat receiving weapons, ammunitions and explosives being smuggled into the country by sea.
"Three other suspects were also arrested later," he said.
"The Public Prosecution then examined the boat in a secure location, and the items were seized.
"During the search of the homes of some of the accused, as well as two locations used to store weapons, the search team recovered explosive materials, two pistols, magazines, ammunition, electrical circuits and chargers ready for detonation after adding explosives in addition to welding equipment and various other tools used in making explosives."
Prosecutors say all of the suspects have confessed to the charges and given details about how they planned to carry out terrorist attacks.
"According to suspects' confessions, they received training on use of weapons, RPGs, AK47s, M16s and MP15s, the manufacture and use of explosives, night sniping and marksmanship techniques, celestial navigation and use of co-ordinates, methods of smuggling through sea points, piloting boats, long-distance swimming, surveillance and monitoring and personal security and avoiding being followed," said Mr Al Oufi.
"The suspects said they committed the terrorist acts with religious motivation from their point of view, based on Sharia rulings as they were led to believe by the leaders of the group.
"The members were trained to divide their operation in three groups, first a sub-group collects information and determines targeted locations, the second sub-group transports the weapons, while the third sub-group carries out the operation.
"One of the suspects said that he carried out assignments involving surveillance and photography of certain sites in Bahrain and reported them to leaders in Iran.
"The Public Prosecution ordered the accused to be held in custody pending investigations and charged them with collaborating with a foreign country, joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its objectives and purposes, importing training and possessing explosives, firearms and ammunition without a permit."
Five of those arrested were named as Alsayed Ali Shubbar Sharaf Shubbar, 37, a welder; Hussein Ahmed Taher Abdulwahab, 41, who is unemployed; Aqeel Abdulrasool Mohammed Ahmed, 35, who works at Alba; Hussein Mahdi Mohammed Ebrahim, 38, a Bapco employee; and 37-year-old Ali Sabah Abdulmohsen Mohammed, 37, an electrician.
Another five suspects still at large include unemployed Mr Al Mousawi, 36; Jassim Ahmed Abdulla Ahmed, 37, nicknamed "Abu Zur" who reportedly left Bahrain illegally and is now in Iran; Al Sayed Jaffer Shubbar Sharaf Shubbar, 33, who works for a printing company in Iraq; Mohammed Jawad Sabah Abdulmohsen Ahmed, 41, an electrician in Iraq; and Abdulmohsen Sabah Abdulmohsen Mohammed, 35, a welder at Alba who is now in Iraq. The details of the remaining seven suspects have yet to be released.