Bahrain 'assassination cell backed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards planned killings in Gulf kingdom'

Bahrain's Interior Ministry says 11 out of 14 members of the cell were arrested.

Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran 22 September, 2011REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

An assassination cell operating out of Bahrain, backed by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC,) was planning to carry out out a number of killings in the Gulf kingdom before they were detected and arrested, the authorities said.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry has said in a statement that 11 members of the 14-member cell had been arrested and were suspected of receiving training under the IRGC and Hezbollah in Iraq. In a raid, police were said to have seized weapons and explosives. The two leaders of the group, not present in Bahrain at the time of the arrests, are believed to have been abroad in Iran.

Bahrain has been riven by sectarian divides. The Sunni-ruled nation periodically carries out arrests of those it suspects to be working for Iranian interests. The country's 2011 uprising against the government was partly sectarian in character.

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The majority Shia population in the country rose up against the Sunni monarchy demanding democratic reform. The demonstrations were put down with ferocity by authorities.

The People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), the Iranian resistance in exile, has detailed a vast network of specialised training camps run by the Iranian revolutionary guard.

The PMOI claims that through the network of at least 14 camps run by the revolutionary guard, hundreds of fighters are trained each month to join the wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

At the largest of the training centres, the Imam Ali Garrison, run by the al-Quds force in northern Tehran, basic foreign fighters are sent for training courses of 45 days and courses of up to 12 months.

According to the PMOI's network of informants inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), the largest contingent trained in the Imam Ali Garrison have come from Syria, and at some points have included as many as 230 trainees at a time.

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