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Bahrain blast a ‘dangerous escalation by Iran’

Foreign minister says aim was to terrorise citizens and damage the global oil industry

Image Credit: AFP
Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa
Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain’s foreign minister has accused Iran of targeting the world’s oil industry as the scope of international condemnation of the oil pipeline blast on Friday evening is widening.

“The attempt to blow up the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation aimed at terrorising citizens and damaging the world’s oil industry,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa posted on his Twitter account.

The blast occurred at around 10 pm near a bus station and a hospital, prompting the authorities to activate an evacuation plan and take patients and residents to safer places and shelters. No fatalities were reported, but several cars and houses in the vicinity were damaged. Firemen battled to put out the fire for hours and traffic officers had to deal with the heavy weekend traffic in the area.

Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa accused Iran of being involved in the blast near Buri, a village, south of the capital Manama, as well as in recent acts of terrorism that targeted the kingdom.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, condemned the attack, referring it as a “dangerous terrorist crime that jeopardises the greater interests of the kingdom of Bahrain and intimidates its citizens and residents”.

GCC Secretary General Abdul Lateef Al Zayani said that targeting oil pipelines was a serious development in the criminal methods used by terrorist organisations that receive their guidance and support from Iran. Such crimes will not undermine the determination of the wise leadership in the kingdom of Bahrain and its insistence on preserving the security and stability of the kingdom and the elimination of all terrorist organisations to rid society of this dangerous scourge.”

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt and Yemen in separate statements condemned the terror attack, expressing their solidarity with Bahrain and their support for all the measures it takes to deal with terrorism.

Mesha’al Al Salmi, President of the Arab Parliament, posted a tweet condemning the attack as a cowardly act of terror and expressing full solidarity with Bahrain.

On Saturday, Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) said that oil supplies between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain resumed in record time.

It commended the strenuous efforts exerted by the personnel working with Bapco and Aramco.

“Operations are under way to increase the refining output gradually, in cooperation with Aramco, upon completion of repairs soon”, the statement said.