Bahrain thwarts terror plot: Iranian, Syrian arms seized

Updated 09 January 2014
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Bahrain thwarts terror plot: Iranian, Syrian arms seized

MANAMA: Bahraini authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle explosives and arms, some made in Iran and Syria, into the country by boat, the state’s public security chief said on Monday.
The boat, which had two Bahrainis aboard, was stopped over the weekend at two nautical miles off the archipelago’s coast, public security chief Maj. Gen. Tareq Al-Hasan said.
He said it had been tracked over a distance of 118 nautical miles northeast of the kingdom.
“Fifty hand grenades made in Iran,” as well as “295 fuses connected to switches labeled as made in Syria,” were found in the 29-foot vessel, he said in a statement carried by state news agency BNA.
Dozens of C4 and TNT explosive devices were also found on the boat, he said, without providing details about the source of the alleged shipment.
“According to the investigations, which revealed plans to carry out terrorist acts, security deployment has been intensified.”
He said security forces had also dismantled a car bomb in Al-Houra area east of Manama, seized a weapons and explosive cache and arrested 13 people, including a Saudi national, trying to flee the country by boat.
The smuggled munitions included what Hassan called anti-personnel and armor-piercing explosives, as well as “50 Iranian-made hand bombs” and “295 commercial detonators on which was written ‘made in Syria’,” he said.
Separately, a court sentenced five men to 15 years in prison for two attacks by homemade bombs — including one during last year’s Formula 1 race — BNA said.
BNA said the men had admitted being behind the bombings. Two of the defendants were tried in absentia.
The defendants were also convicted of a number of other counts relating to explosives, the agency said.


France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

Updated 53 min 3 sec ago
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France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

  • A Russian Antonov 124 military cargo plane carrying 50 tons of medical aid and humanitarian supplies left the airport at the central French city of Chateauroux at 3am
  • The medical aid is aimed at some 500 people who have been seriously injured and the 15,000 others who have lighter injuries during the fighting in Eastern Ghouta

CHATEAUROUX: France and Russia on Saturday despatched a plane carrying humanitarian aid to the ravaged former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which was retaken by government forces in April after a five-year siege.
A Russian Antonov 124 military cargo plane carrying 50 tons of medical aid and humanitarian supplies left the airport at the central French city of Chateauroux at 3am (0100 GMT), the airport’s head Mark Bottemine told AFP.
Undertaken as part of a UN Security Council resolution, “the aim of this project is to enable civilian populations better access to aid,” a joint Franco-Russian statement said.
The plane is heading for Russia’s Hmeimim air base in the west of Syria. It is the first joint humanitarian aid operation between Russia and a western country.
The aid will be distributed on Saturday under the supervision of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA).
“Humanitarian assistance is an absolute priority and must be distributed in accordance with principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence across all Syrian territory without exception, where international humanitarian law must be fully respected,” the joint statement said.
France had secured “guarantees” from Russia that the Syrian regime would not obstruct the distribution of the aid, and that it would not be misappropriated or diverted for political purposes, the foreign ministry said.
More than 1,700 civilians were killed during the Syrian regime’s operation in Eastern Ghouta in March and April. According to the Russian military, more than 160,000 people, both military and civilians, were evacuated from the region.
The cargo comprises medical equipment, tents, cooking utensils and blankets, said an AFP photographer who witnessed the plane being loaded.
The medical aid is aimed at some 500 people who have been seriously injured and the 15,000 others who have lighter injuries during the fighting in Eastern Ghouta, on the fringes of the Syrian capital Damascus.