BAHRAINI TV personalities whose names allegedly appeared on a hit list found in the possession of an alleged terrorist cell have vowed to continue speaking out against the anti-government protest movement. Well-known Bahrain Television (BTV) presenters Sawsan Al Shaer, Faisal Shaikh and Saeed Al Hamad are said to have been among the group's targets.
Security officials have not confirmed that members of the Press were at risk, but earlier said individuals were among the targets.
Government sources told the GDN yesterday that members of the cell had set their sights on diplomats, ministers and TV personalities, in addition to key locations including the King Fahad Causeway, the Saudi Embassy in Bahrain and the Interior Ministry headquarters in Manama.
However, Mr Al Hamad - an outspoken critic of the protest movement - said the plot exposed the agenda of those behind anti-government demonstrations.
"These threats against me and other members of the media reflect the terror plans of these groups," he told the GDN yesterday.
"This is proof that the so-called February 14 'coup' was not for democracy, but to serve the Iranian agenda which aims to destabilise Gulf countries."
Mr Al Hamad hosts a show on BTV that aired confessions of suspects who admitted to attacking policemen, as well as compilations of videos exposing illegal acts committed by anti-government protesters during unrest in February and March.
"These individuals and governments (seeking to destabilise Bahrain) should realise that the majority of the citizens in Gulf countries do not support their ideologies," he said.
"They depend on supporters of fundamentalism."
Meanwhile, Ms Al Shaer - a popular BTV talk show host and columnist who has criticised protests - vowed she would continue doing her job "without stepping back".
"I am not surprised by this threat against me by members of this terror cell," she said.
"I have read it in papers and on social networking websites that my name was on their list of targets.
"If you have an opinion against Bahraini Hizbollah, such responses are common. They want to divert the attention from Syria and put pressure on Bahrain and Kuwait."
Both Ms Al Shaer and Mr Al Hamad said they had not been informed that they were targets by Bahraini law enforcement.
However, Ms Al Shaer added it would not be the first time she was threatened, saying she had received similar threats in 1995 and 1996.
"They sent me letters stating they knew which school my children studied in and what time they finish their classes," she said.
"Basically, they knew about my daily movements and used this to pressure me to stop doing my job."
The GDN reported yesterday that the Public Prosecution had named Abdulraouf Al Shayeb and Ali Mushaima, who are both believed to be in the UK, as alleged masterminds of the terror cell, which reportedly had links to the Revolutionary Guard and Basij militia in Iran.
Five suspects are currently in Bahraini custody after allegedly confessing to planning attacks inside Bahrain.
Public Prosecution spokesman Osama Al Uffi said on Sunday that the plot dated back to the height of unrest earlier this year.
He added four of the suspects were arrested in Qatar while on their way to receive training in using explosives and firearms.
They were handed over to Bahraini authorities on November 4 and the fifth suspect was later arrested in Bahrain.
Qatari security authorities are said to have recovered documents and a laptop from the four containing sensitive information, as well as airline bookings to Syria - an ally of Iran.
The spokesman said one of the cell members met Asaad Qaseer, who is linked to the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij force.
He said the member received training in firearms and explosives and returned with Iranian money to finance the group.
Speculative reports circulating online yesterday claimed two of the suspects were involved in illegally occupying Salmaniya Medical Complex and running over a policeman during unrest earlier this year.
However, this could not be confirmed.