Al Jazeera: Bahrain king 'funded failed bombings' in Doha

Al Jazeera's Qatar '96: Bahrain king 'funded failed bombing attacks' in Doha amid coup attempt
2 min read
13 March, 2018
Bahrain's king bankrolled attempted bomb attacks in the Qatari capital Doha amid a failed coup attempt in 1996, an Al Jazeera documentary has revealed.

The coup in Doha was allegedly approved by the current king of Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Bahrain's king bankrolled attempted bomb attacks in the Qatari capital Doha amid a failed coup attempt in 1996, a documentary has revealed.

Al Jazeera on Sunday aired the second part of its "Qatar '96" documentary, highlighting Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's alleged role in the failed attempt to overthrow the Qatari government 21 years ago.

Fahd al-Maliki, a former Qatari intelligence officer involved in the coup plot, said that Sheikh Hamad had financed plans to carry out a series of bombings in Doha.

Maliki said he received $265,000 from the royal, who was the crown prince at the time, to target government institutions under the pretence of being part of a rebel group.

The October 1996 attack was derailed after the bomb failed to detonate and authorities found the explosive device.

Former US ambassador to Qatar, Patrick Thiers, said during the programme that the coup attempt was a result of Qatar's independent foreign policy distinct from the other Gulf states'.

Last week, the Doha-based broadcaster aired the first part of the documentary, showcasing never-seen-before documents and testimonies of the failed putsch, which was allegedly sponsored by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The first instalment detailed the operation to invade Qatar using tribal militias and foreign mercenaries and lay siege to the home of the Qatari Emir.

"Operation Abu Ali" was thwarted after a low-ranking officer exposed the plan and authorities declared a state of emergency.

Senior Qatari officials have previously accused neighbouring Gulf states of plotting to invade Doha in 2014.

The airing of the documentary comes eight months into a blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

These are the same four countries allegedly involved in the 1996 coup, who have now imposed a land, air and sea blockade on the gas-rich emirate.

Saudi Arabia and its allies then issued Qatar with a list of demands, including shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

The quartet accuses Doha of backing extremism and fostering ties with Iran - charges that Qatar vehemently denies, and says the blockade is a bid to turn it into a vassal state.