Iranian mastermind ‘funded terror group’
Manama, February 20, 2013
A member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been dubbed the mastermind of a terror cell which planned to carry out blasts in key installations across Bahrain - including the airport.
The Iranian, known as Abu Nasser, had funded $80,000 (BD30,160) into the cell, which planned to assassinate top police officials and public figures, our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News reported.
"Eight suspects have been arrested and transferred to the Public Prosecution, but the hunt is ongoing for four others," said Public Security chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan, during a Press conference last night at the Officers Club in Gudaibiya.
Investigators say the men - who had links with groups in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon - were trained in arms, explosives, collecting data and recruiting militias.
The eight are Sayed Saeed Al Alawi, Ali Reyadh Sanqoor, Sayed Mahmood Fadhel, Mazen Alwana, Ali Al Samaheeji, Sayed Faisal Jameel, Haitham Mohammed Ebrahim Al Haddad and Ali Al Hayki.
The sleeper cell busted by intelligence agents belonged to the notorious Iranian militant group, Jaish Imam (Army of Imam). "The Jaish Imam terror cell aimed to conduct terror attacks on sensitive military and civilian locations with the help of men recruited and trained for the mission," Maj-Gen Al Hassan said.
"The mastermind of the cell is an Iranian national nicknamed Abu Nasser, who is a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. He funded about $80,000 for the mission."
The National Security Agency (NSA) first got a whiff of the high-profile case in May last year.
Investigators arrested eight Bahraini suspects on January 24 and they have been referred to the Public Prosecution.
"Five suspects were arrested in Bahrain, while three were held in Oman. Four other suspects are on the run," added Maj-Gen Al Hassan.
"The authorities concerned contacted Omani officials to carry out the arrests according to the protocol."
He said those on the run were non-GCC nationals.
"The case is still being investigated as other details are unfolding," he stressed.
"Based on the confessions of the suspects, what we know is that Bahrainis Mirza Mohammed and Aqeel Jaffar, who were located in Iran, were tasked to carry out the recruitment process.”
"They were joined by one of the suspects, Bahraini Ali Samaheeji, to carry out the mission."
Maj-Gen Al Hassan said the Bahrainis had links with groups in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon - adding the suspects had confessed to receiving training in arms, explosives, collecting data and recruiting more militants.
He said the training took place in camps operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Islamic Republic, in addition to sites belonging to Iraqi Hizbollah, located in both Karbala and Baghdad.
"The suspects confessed to being recruited by Mirza Mohammed and Aqeel Jaffar, who are living in Iran and planned to assassinate high-ranking officers and public figures and carry out explosions at vital locations," he added.
He explained that investigations revealed the suspects planned to use C4 explosives and other locally manufactured weapons, including sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"The evidence includes flash memory, laptops, bank transfer receipts, phones and photographs of several locations in Bahrain, which were the target of the terror cell," he said.
"What we know is that the terror cell was waiting for instruction from Iran for a zero hour to carry out these massive attacks in Bahrain using light and medium weapons and homemade explosives."
He said investigators did not have the exact date of the "zero hour", but added part of the plan was to store weapons in several warehouses in different parts of the country and use them as soon as they received the instructions.
"Bahrain could use the help of Interpol to arrest the remaining suspects and issue warrants based on details of the investigation," he added.
Meanwhile, Maj-Gen Al Hassan said no links have yet been found between the terror cell and the 2kg of explosive defused at the King Fahad Causeway last week.
He also said no links were yet established between the cell and members of political societies in Bahrain.
"The investigation process continues with the Public Prosecution, but there is no doubt that internal and external powers are trying to destabilise the kingdom," he added. – TradeArabia News Service