Manama: Bahrain’s education ministry on Sunday reported a attack on a girls’ elementary school.
A gas cylinder was placed in the middle of tyres near the wall of Bilad Al Qadeem Girls Elementary School in the suburbs of the capital Manama. The tyres were set on fire and the cylinder blew up, the ministry said.
The attack occurred when the students were at the school to resume their classes following the two-day weekend.
“The assault [which occured] when the girls were back in their classes is a new and ominous escalation in the attacks targeting educational institutions,” a spokesperson for the ministry said. “The aim of those behind the attacks is to stall the student’s learning and undermine the educational process. The same school has already been attacked several times before [Sunday’s] assault,” the spokesperson said.
According to the ministry’s figures, 173 schools have been targeted in attacks over the last two academic years.
Bahrain has been rocked by unrest since February 2011 amid sharp divisions over the events that unfolded in the country.
A national dialogue was launched between the various factions of the society to help heal the social and political wounds.
Talks were held in July 2011 and brought together delegates from political societies, the parliament, the media, women’s groups, the government and NGOs. However, they were boycotted by the opposition.
The talks were re-launched in February to help break the long standing political deadlock, but after 12 rounds of discussions between delegates from two political coalitions, the parliament and the government, no agenda was set forth amid sharp disagreements over the platform and outcome of the dialogue.