Manama: Bahrain’s interior ministry said it has foiled an attempt to smuggle eight fugitives convicted over terrorism cases to Iran.

Coast guard vessels spotted a boat off the coast of northern Bahrain and pursued it. Those on board were interdicted when they refused to stop, the ministry said in a statement late on Saturday.

Investigations revealed that the planners of the operation were Sadiq Makki Jasem, sentenced to 10 years in Bahrain and currently a fugitive in Iran, and Sadiq Al Hayki, sentenced to life in prison and currently a fugitive in Iran as well, the statement added.

Nine of the people arrested had been sentenced to jail terms ranging between 10 and 15 years while one was wanted by the police.

The boat captain and his assistant were also arrested in the operation.

The ID cards, money, mobile phones, personal belongings of those who were arrested, as well as a GPS and a large quantity of petrol were confiscated.

The ministry said that legal proceedings had been initiated.

The foiling of the smuggling attempt was announced as the interior ministry has intensified efforts to locate and recapture prisoners who broke out of jail on Friday evening.

At a briefing given to a security meeting chaired by Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa to review the circumstances of the escape of 17 detainees from the Dry Dock Detention Centre, the ministry undersecretary said that the jailbreak occurred at 8.45pm and that 11 of the detainees have been recaptured along with five others who assisted in the planning and execution.

As the search continues for the remaining six fugitives amid a massive manhunt, the minister commended the level of cooperation from citizens and residents and said their help contributed to the quick arrests of several of the escapees, the ministry said in a statement.

However, the minister warned against aiding and abetting the fugitives, saying Article 255 of the Penal code Law states that “any person who either personally or through another provides shelter for a defendant accused in a serious crime or a felony that is punishable by imprisonment or against whom an arrest warrant has been issued, or a death sentence or a penalty involving deprivation of liberty has been passed, and being aware thereof, shall he liable for the punishments of jail term or fine.”