7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

US ships 'target of terror plotters'

US Navy ships in Bahrain were the target of an alleged terror attack, it was claimed in court yesterday.

Two Bahrainis, accused of smuggling weapons into the country, planned to attack US ships and personnel at Mina Salman, say prosecutors.

They, aged 22 and 21, were arrested on April 26 - the day of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix - when police allegedly seized machine guns, weapons, computer discs and other evidence from their homes in East Riffa.

Both appeared before the High Criminal Court for the first time yesterday, where they denied plotting terror attacks and smuggling weapons and ammunition into the country.

Police believe the pair had met members of a terrorist cell (Al Qaeda) abroad.

Their arrest came after National Security Agency received information that the 22-year-old unemployed man, of Jordanian origin, had intensified contacts with the cell in Iran.

Officers obtained a search warrant and found tapes, CDs, computers, bank statements and exchange company documents in his house.

He then led police to the other - a 21-year-old junior customs officer - who possessed the smuggled weapons.

Police raided his house and found two machine guns, a pistol, bullets, knives and swords, the court heard.

They also seized several books on building missiles, rockets, weapons and explosives, and pictures of the American Base and Navy ships along with research and videos on jehad, alleged prosecutors.

During questioning, the younger defendant confessed to planning an attack on US forces at Mina Salman, said court documents.

Defence lawyer Fareed Gazi, who is representing the customs officer, asked the court to release the men from police custody.

Colleague Abdulla Hashim, who is representing the other defendant, asked the court to grant their families weekly visits, claiming the pair were being held in solitary confinement.


The court rejected the requests and adjourned the case until September 9.

The men allegedly carried out their plans and preparations for the attack during 2007 and 2008, according to trial documents.

They allegedly confessed, during questioning, to smuggling the weapons and ammunition from Jordan to use in a plot against American soldiers.

Mr Hashim earlier claimed the guns, capable of firing 30 bullets per second, were smuggled into Bahrain to defend it from possible attack by Iran.

He told the GDN that the only reason they were acquired was to protect the country after claims that it was a province of Iran.

The GDN reported earlier that an Interior Ministry statement alleged the men were part of a terror network plotting attacks in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Gulf.

It also claimed they had met other members of a terrorist cell abroad.

Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said at the time of the arrest that the men were rounded up after allegedly intensifying contacts with the terror cell abroad, travelling to a neighbouring Arab country, buying weapons and ammunition and smuggling them into Bahrain.

Both men reportedly confessed to plotting terrorist attacks and gave names of accomplices in Arab and foreign countries. [email protected]

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