Manama: A booby-trapped car which exploded in a mosque parking area near the royal residences has rattled Bahrain, prompting widespread condemnation.
“The explosion occurred on Wednesday evening at 8.20 while there were people praying at the mosque in Riffa,” the interior ministry said in a statement. “The security authorities rushed to the scene as soon as the case was reported. The investigation will continue to identify the suspects and bring them to justice,” the ministry said, quoting the Director-General of the Southern Governorate Police.
The bombing at the Shaikh Eisa Bin Salman Mosque in Riffa, 15 kilometres south of the capital Manama, was promptly condemned.
King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa directed the security services to take the necessary measures to enforce the law towards those who perpetrated the act of terror targeting innocent people performing their Taraweeh (Ramadan evening) prayers, the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
The monarch also called for the full application of the law against those who incited, participated and assisted in the acts during Ramadan, the official news agency added.
Such acts are alien to the values and morals of the people of Bahrain, who have had enough of them, the king said.
No one was injured in the attack.
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa said that the bombing was “an ugly and despicable terrorist act that targeted a house of God and its worshippers in a cheap attempt to drag the country into a sectarian and doctrinal situation that is religiously unacceptable and officially and popularly condemnable.”
“Such attempts that are considered a dangerous escalation in the acts of terror will not succeed to defeat the determination of the people and the resolve of the government keen on resisting them,” Prince Khalifa was quoted as saying by the BNA. “The higher interests of the nation require a high sense of patriotic responsibility and acts in order to confront those who attempt to undermine relations between the people of Bahrain.”
Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said that all people should speak out against violence and terror.
“The community leaders who lapse into silence should assume their responsibilities,” he said. “We are not at all pleased with the leaders who incite violence and are not serious about reaching an accord. Those who are genuinely sincere about a consensus should condemn and ban violence,” he said.
Al Wefaq, the largest opposition society, condemned the bombing, saying that it was a dangerous development “alien to the character of the Bahraini people.”
“We stand against any acts or plans of violence and such an act is against the peaceful nature of the Bahraini society,” Al Wefaq said.
Parliament Speaker Khalifa Al Dahrani said that the explosion was “a dangerous sectarian act to undermine security and national unity”.
Several religious scholars joined the chorus of condemnation and warned of the dangerous consequences of the bombing.
The car blast concluded a day of acts of violence in Bahrain that started with a company being set ablaze in the Budaya area, west of Manama, at 3.14am.
The police said that cylinders were used in the arson attack.
The car blast and the arson attack were the latest in a recent series of assaults on public figures and places in the kingdom rocked by months of unrest.
On Monday assailants attempted to set on fire the home of MP Abbas Eisa Al Madhi, the chairman of parliament’s Services Committee, in the coastal village of Dair in Muharraq, the country’s second largest island.
— with inputs from AP