Bahrain's interior minister said police have arrested eight members of an alleged terrorist cell linked to Iran and Lebanon following widespread clashes in the Gulf nation during protests marking the second anniversary of an Arab Spring-inspired uprising.
A statement Sunday on the ministry's website said the suspected terror network received training and financial support from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon — references to Iranian-backed Shiite groups such as Hizbullah and others.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said the eight "moved between Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and received training in using arms and explosives as well as financial aid."
"Details about the case will be announced as soon as the investigation is completed," he said.
Sheikh Rashid also denounced the "escalation in violence" in the kingdom where a protester and a policeman were killed during Shiite-led protests to mark the second anniversary of the 2011 uprising there on Thursday.
He said "terrorist acts had taken place over the past three days" in which "two people were killed and 75 policemen were wounded," adding that "there has been an escalation... with the use of firearms" and explosives.
Bahrain's Western-backed Sunni monarchy has frequently accused Shiite power Iran and its allies of aiding the uprising by Bahrain's majority Shiites. Iran denies the charges.
Bahrain courts have previously convicted suspects for alleged coup plotting and links to Iran and Hizbullah, but no clear evidence has been made public.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
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