Manama: Bahrain's parliament and societies have condemned Monday's attack on policemen at the entrance to a village.

"The terrorist blast at Al Eker village occurred at 7:17pm and targeted the safety of policemen on duty at the entrance of the village that witnesses daily rioting and acts of vandalism," said Major-General Tareq Al Hassan, Chief of Public Security.

"Seven policemen were injured in the blast, three of them critically. The police promptly rushed to the blast scene and an investigation was launched to trace the suspects and bring them to justice," Al Hassan said.

Initial information indicates that the explosion was caused by a homemade petrol bomb and that its flames and shrapnel caused severe burns and injuries among the targeted policemen, he said.

The three policemen who were injured reportedly got off their vehicle to clear the road blocked by a palm tree and garbage bins, when the blast took place.

Sources told the Gulf Daily News that "as soon as three policemen tried to lift and remove the tree, a powerful explosion took place."

Lawmakers at their weekly session on Tuesday condemned the attack and called for stringent measures against those who perpetrated it.

Al Wefaq society said that it condemned violence, regardless of its source, and insisted on preserving lives as well as private and public property.

The society, one day earlier, issued a statement with four other political formations condemning the use of violence following the burning of a bus on Sunday in Jid Hafs, a town to the west of the capital, Manama.

Pressure to release Al Khawaja

The attacks coincided with pressure on the authorities to release Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja who has been detained on charges of seeking to topple the political regime by force.

Al Khawaja went on hunger strike in February and calls by local and international organisations to release him have been resisted by Bahraini authorities who said that his case, alongside 20 other defendants, would be reviewed by the Court of Cassation on April 23.

A request by the Danish foreign minister to allow Al Khawaja, who holds the Danish nationality as well, to fly to Copenhagen was on Sunday rejected by Bahrain's high judicial council reportedly for failing to meet the conditions required for his extradition.

A report by his lawyer on Monday that he might have died from the hunger strike was denied by the interior ministry.

"Al Khawaja is in good health, but he has been transferred from the Public Security Clinic to the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital because the latter is equipped with more advanced medical services," Inspector-General Brigadier Ebrahim Habib Gaith said.

The official said that the Directorate of Reformation and Rehabilitation conformed to all international human rights standards and that it was carrying out its duties professionally regardless of media or political pressure.

"The Interior Ministry cares for the health of Al Khawaja just as it does for the health of any of the other inmates at the Reformation and Rehabilitation Directorate," he said. "It offers the same level of professional, competent medical services to all inmates."

Dr M Amr and Dr J J den Otter, two international experts commissioned by the government to conduct an evaluation of Al Khawaja's medical condition, released a report after visiting him at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital on Sunday and Monday.

The report said that Al Khawaja, during the clinical examination, "seemed well and was cooperative, quite coherent, well-oriented in time, place and person."

"He was also able to move around and stand normally for some time, and able to read and write," the report said.

However, it said that his condition had severely deteriorated since his detention last year and that he had lost 10 and 11 kilogrammes since he started the hunger strike.

The report warned that if he "continues the hunger strike and does not allow any medical interference, his life will be in serious danger."