Bahrain over the weekend said it uncovered a militant group of 54 members linked to Iran that is suspected of being involved with the recent security forces attacks including the organization of a January prison break.
It was one of the largest operations by Bahrain security forces against a suspected militant group that Bahrain blames for the increase in armed attacks in the kingdom where the Fifth Fleet from the U.S. is based.
Tensions have run high in the kingdom since 2016 after local authorities increased their crackdown on dissent, banned Al-Wefaq the biggest opposition group, arrested an activist and government critic and revoked citizenship of a spiritual leader of the Shi’ites the country’s majority.
The BNA news agency operated by the state quoted the head prosecutor in the country as saying the security forces arrested 25 members of the militant group and sized pistols and rifles.
The prosecutor also said an investigation into a prison break in January revealed that the group’s leader, based in Germany had helped organized trips for its members to Iran from Bahrain for training.
The militant group has been suspected of being involved with six attacks including the assault on January 1 of the Jau prison which resulted in one policeman being killed and the escape of 10 inmates as well as the stealing of numerous weapons.
Group members killed one officer on his farm January 28 and they organized an attempt at smuggling the escaped prison inmates from Jau out of the country during February.
Authorities claimed at that time that their security forces killed three members of the group and took seven into custody during a gun battle as the group attempted to flee into Iran.
In February, Bahrain executed three convicted of killing three police, during a bomb attack in 2014.
Bahrain often times accuses Iran of being behind the bomb attack that target its security forces and in fomenting protests by Shi’ites.
Iran is quick to deny interfering in activities inside Bahrain, although it has acknowledged support for groups that opposed the Bahrain government that are seeking more rights for Shi’ites in the country.
The community of Shi’ites in Bahrain led the 2011 protest known as Arab Spring that were put down by neighboring kingdom Saudi Arabia.
Thousands of Bahrain’s, most who are Shi’ite Muslim sit in jails on charges from taking part in protests against the government to armed attacks against security forces.