Bahrain – According to officials, at least 5 bombs blow up in the center of the Bahraini capital Manama last Monday, killing 2 people. The third victim, a garbage-cleaning worker, sustained serious physical injuries as a result of a contraption bomb explosion in Adliya district. This is another of those rare attacks targeting civilians during the 21-month-old uprising against the kingdom’s U.S.-backed rulers.
The explosions, 1 outside the cinema, could be a sign of the opposition which resulted to escalating violence. They took place days after the government announced it had banned all rallies and opposition gatherings to ensure public safety.
According to the Interior Ministry, the victims were Asian street cleaners and 1 of them died after kicking a device which then blew up. The bombs were home-made and described as “terrorist acts”.
According to reports, Police have been mainly targeted by explosions several times this year, as the government has stepped up efforts to quell the uprising that has simmered since democracy protests broke out in early 2011.
It is very rare in the Gulf nation that bombs are targeting civilians, where the Sunni Muslim Khalifa dynasty rules over a majority Shi’ite population. The kingdom hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which patrols oil shipping lanes in the Gulf region.
According to the BNA agency, the blasts last Monday took place between 4.30 am and 9.30 am (0130 and 0630 GMT) in the Qudaibiya and Adliya districts of Manama, citing a police official. It described the explosives as “locally made bombs”. A third Asian worker was wounded.
Activists and rights groups stated that nearly 50 civilians have been killed in conflicts with police since the end of martial law in June last year, while the authorities say two policemen have died including one killed by a bomb attack last month.
Opposition politician Matar Matar of Shi’ite party Wefaq stated that he is uncertain about opposition activists were behind Monday’s attacks, noting that leading Shi’ite clerics had called on followers to avoid escalating the conflict with the government. He proposed the police or military may have been responsible, or a rogue unit.
The rallies ban announced last week was denounced by Amnesty International as a violation of the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.