Manama: Bahrain’s interior minister has called upon states in the region to ensure they are not used for operations that could undermine the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, who was receiving the interior ministry undersecretaries of the six GCC member states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, on Sunday said that the other countries in the region should reinforce their monitoring of their lands so that they are not exploited for operations targeting the security of the Gulf states.
The minister did not name the countries, but his call was made days after his ministry said that it had foiled terrorist activities that included attempts to smuggle in weapons and ammunitions and smuggle out 13 people wanted for their terror links.
Tariq Al Hassan, the police chief, last week told a press conference that they seized 38 C4 explosives, 31 Claymore blocks, explosive material to be used against individuals, 12 EFP armour-piercing explosives, six explosive devices containing magnets, 30 Nokia mobile phones, with batteries, a Thuraya satellite phone with a SIM card, and 29 circuit boards to be fixed on mobile phones to set off bombs.
They also seized a PK machine gun and 12 cartridges, a large number of machine gun bullets, two boxes containing a large number of ignition capsules, three explosive fuses, 50 Iranian-made hand bombs, 295 “made in Syria” commercial detonators and C4 and TNT explosives. Two Bahrainis who reportedly had links with Iraq were on board of the boat.
In a separate smuggling activity, a 29-foot boat was taking 13 people, including one Saudi national, out of Bahrain illegally when it was seized by the Coast Guard.
In the other operation, a warehouse used to store weapons was busted in a village and a car bomb in the capital Manama was defused.
Bahrain had called for the GCC interior officials to shed more light on the security threats and the measures taken by Bahrain.
Shaikh Rashid told the officials that joint action between the GCC countries was crucial for the consolidation of coordinated collective measures. He added there was a need for joint training to address the various security challenges to the Gulf countries.
The six countries have agreed on a GCC security pact to reinforce cooperation on fighting terrorism and transnational criminal activities. However, the agreement signed by the interior ministers has yet to be ratified by some of the member countries.
An accord to set up a joint GCC police force has so far been signed by Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Al Hassan has told London-based Al Sharq Al Awsat.
“After a few more obstacles are overcome, it will enter the implementation phase. It will help to strengthen security, create an atmosphere of cooperation, and provide legal cover for the security services among all of the Gulf States,” he said.