Bahrain unearths plot to bomb US Navy base
Manama, December 9, 2013
By Noor Zahra
A plot to bomb the US Navy Base in Bahrain, two Royal palaces and the airport was revealed yesterday during the trial of five alleged terrorists.
Prosecutors claim a terror cell, made up of five men, planned to target key establishments including Safriya and Gudaibiya palaces, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The Bahrainis also allegedly plotted to cripple the country's aviation sector by attempting to carry out an attack on Bahrain International Airport.
Four of them have gone on trial at the High Criminal Court for being part of the illicit group, while the fifth man, 43, is accused of establishing, running and funding the cell.
All five, who are in custody, appeared in court yesterday for the first time to plead not guilty. They were arrested after a first lieutenant, 29, uncovered the plan during an investigation into the "rising" number of riots in Bahrain's villages.
The Bahraini told prosecutors that secret sources provided him with the information.
"I was assigned to investigate the rise of rioting in villages in Bahrain," he told prosecutors.
"During my investigation, I came across a man who established and funded a terrorist cell, according to information provided to me by sources.
"We then found out that four men had joined the cell.
"They would communicate with each other on the BlackBerry Service under false identities.
"They planned to carry out terrorist attacks on the US Navy Base, Safriya Palace and Gudaibiya Palace.
"They also planned to go to the base to take pictures. Bahrain International Airport was also their target.
"But we arrested them before they could carry out anything."
All five defendants are also accused of stealing cars and torching them on key highways to block traffic.
They have also been charged with participating in illegal gatherings.
Three of them admitted to the crime during questioning by prosecutors.
According to court documents, the 43-year-old mastermind admitted to being part of a terrorist cell but denied establishing it.
"I did not make the terrorist cell, or head it, I was just part of it," he told prosecutors in his statement.
His lawyer Jassim Sarhan yesterday requested his release from custody, saying there was no "visible" evidence against the alleged terrorist cell. "He did not confess to heading the illicit group," he told judges.
"There is no visible evidence against any of the defendants; no explosives were confiscated in the case.
"The only 'evidence' is information from secret sources given to the first lieutenant, which is evidence that is invisible that cannot be counted as solid evidence.
"Therefore, I request the release of my client,"
Judges refused his request and adjourned the trial until January 19 to summon the first lieutenant for cross examination. - TradeArabia News Service