Bahrain destroys suspicious package at airport

DUBAI Thu Dec 8, 2011 4:38am IST

A protester stands along a street engulfed in tear gas smoke after riot police fired it at protesters trying to march to Pearl Square following a Ashura procession, in Daih village, Manama December 7, 2011. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed

A protester stands along a street engulfed in tear gas smoke after riot police fired it at protesters trying to march to Pearl Square following a Ashura procession, in Daih village, Manama December 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/ Hamad I Mohammed

Related Topics

DUBAI (Reuters) - A suspicious package destroyed at Bahrain's airport contained no explosives but a number of tools that can be used to make a bomb, police said on Wednesday, as security forces fired teargas on anti-government protesters in the capital.

Earlier, the interior ministry said a package containing explosives had been sent via Dubai from Britain, whose embassy was assumed to be the target of an explosion on Sunday caused by a bomb placed under a nearby vehicle.

"He (the director general of Bahrain International Airport police) said that after examining the package at the Ministry of the Interior's laboratories it was revealed that the materials in the package were empty from explosives, but they could be used in the making of an explosive device," said a statement on the police media website.

Britain's foreign office had also said it was looking into reports an explosive package had been sent to Bahrain from Britain.

In the capital, riot police wielding batons fired tear gas to prevent demonstrators from reaching Pearl Square, named after a statue torn down by security forces during a crackdown on protests led by Bahrain's Shi'ite Muslim majority.

The protests, which erupted in February, led the kingdom to call in troops from fellow Sunni-led Gulf states to help stamp out unrest it said was fomented by Shi'ite power Iran.

"There are at least 100 police jeeps trying to block marchers from getting to Pearl Square," an activist told Reuters by telephone. "I saw about 10 people suffering from tear gas inhalation and there were around three arrests".

Pearl Square was the rallying point for protesters until security forces tore down the statue and sealed off the area.

Protesters began marching after Shi'ite ceremonies marking the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson, Hussein, in the year 680, at the battle of Kerbala in what is now Iraq.

Bahrain earlier blamed protesters for the death of a woman on Wednesday who was struck on the head during unrest last month, but rights activists expressed doubt over the official explanation.

"A Bahraini lady who was injured in the head by an iron rod hurled by a vandal during rioting in al-Daih on 18 November died today," the Interior Ministry said in its Twitter feed.

Rights activists named her as Zahra Saleh and said it was not clear who injured her. They say there were clashes with police in al-Daih that day. Videos circulated by online activists seem to show her with a metal rod lodged in her head.

"We don't have details about the incident. There are no witnesses from the village," said Mohammed Al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

"We have a video showing security forces carrying rods, but no evidence of who the attacker was, or if she was participating in protests or not. There were protests at the time."

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Firouz Sedarat; Writing by Andrew Hammond and Isabel Coles; editing by Maria Golovnina)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mideast Conflict

Mideast Conflict

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts  Full Article 

New President

New President

Indonesian president-elect Jokowi calls for unity after bitter election.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crash

Ukraine Crash

Putin says will use influence on Ukraine rebels, denounces West.  Full Article 

Probe Sought

Probe Sought

Palestinians seek U.N. inquiry into Israel assault on Gaza   Full Article 

Death of a Spy

Death of a Spy

Britain does U-turn on ex-KGB agent Litvinenko murder inquiry.  Full Article 

Soured Ties

Soured Ties

Turkey's Erdogan acknowledges strains with Obama.  Full Article 

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Korea ferry businessman's body found next to book, alcohol bottles.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage