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Bahrain police ‘kill 1 & injure dozens’ in raid on Shiite cleric’s home village – report


Activists in Bahrain said one protester has been killed and dozens of others injured as security forces cracked down on a sit-in by supporters of Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim in his home village.

Pictures posted online showed police in protective gear, armored security vehicles, people covered in blood and streets strewn with what captions claimed to be tear gas used by the police. The authenticity of the images could not be immediately verified, but witnesses cited by AFP said multiple civilians were injured when police opened fire at demonstrators, who were throwing rocks and petrol bombs at them.

Qassim was sentenced on Sunday to a year in prison, suspended for three years, sparking anger among his supporters. The charges against him included illegal fundraising and money laundering. Last year he was stripped of full citizenship of Bahrain.

Security forces entered Diraz, the cleric’s home town, early on Tuesday “to impose security and general order after the area became a haven for people wanted in security cases and fugitives from justice,” according to an Interior Ministry statement.

“The situation is terrifying ... It's making people really angry and the young men are taking to the streets. The mosque speakers are calling out 'God is Great', urging people to come out and protect Sheikh Qassim,” activist Ebtasam Alsaegh, from the neighboring village of Bani Jamra, told Reuters by phone.

Bahrain, a small Sunni-ruled island nation and a key ally of Saudi Arabia, has been plagued for years by protests from its Shiite majority. In 2011, its government crushed mass protests with the help of the Saudis, after activists demanded democratic reforms and greater respect of human rights.

The Gulf country denies accusations by international human rights groups of excessive use of force and discrimination, and accuses Iran - Saudi Arabia’s regional rival - of fomenting dissent.

The crackdown in Diraz comes days after Bahrain’s King Hamad met US President Donald Trump in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The island monarchy hosts America’s Fifth Fleet, a key component for the US projection of power in the Persian Gulf.



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Muslim Global: Bahrain police ‘kill 1 & injure dozens’ in raid on Shiite cleric’s home village – report
Bahrain police ‘kill 1 & injure dozens’ in raid on Shiite cleric’s home village – report
Muslim Global
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