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Bahrain accuses senior Shia cleric of 'sympathising with terrorists'

Bahrain accuses Iran of fanning unrest on the island kingdom [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 May, 2019

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Bahraini authorities have accused a senior Shia cleric of "sympathising with terrorists", the BNA news agency reported on Saturday.

Bahraini authorities have accused a senior Shia cleric of "sympathising with terrorists", the BNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The state-run agency carried a statement from the interior ministry, saying Sheikh Abdullah al-Ghuraifi had failed to condemn militants attacks that have killed 22 security forces in total.

"Ghuraifi has not condemned terrorists acts - on the contrary he has sympathised with them," the statement said.

"What has happened in Bahrain has clearly been encouraged from abroad - specifically by the followers of the Velayat-e Faqih," it added, referring to Iran's supreme leader.

Bahrain, which is a Shia-majority country ruled by a Sunni monarchy, has seen increased unrest and attacks on security forces since anti-government protests broke out in 2011.

The government has responded with a brutal crackdown on dissent, which has included the arrests of hundreds of protesters and activists.

The now-banned al-Wefaq opposition movement and the country's top Shia cleric, Isa Qassim, have condemned the government's attack on Ghuraifi.

Qassim, who who stripped of his Bahraini nationality in 2016 on charges of "serving foreign interests", said the comments were "an attack against Bahrainis".

The statement came days after Ghuraifi met with senior officials, including the prime minister.

Bahrain accuses Iran of fanning unrest on the island kingdom.

Iran says it is merely criticising the repression of peaceful protests led by its co-religionists, as Bahrain's Western allies have also done.

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