Manama: The main suspect in the Bahrain weapons and explosives smuggling case had recruited several people and formed a group to perpetrate terrorist acts against “vital installations and sovereign and security locations”, the public prosecution said on Thursday afternoon.

“The accused succeeded in recruiting a number of persons in Bahrain to join the group, arranged for their travel to Iran to receive training on the use of weapons and explosives, martial arts, marine navigation skills, and methods of smuggling and concealing weapons, munitions and explosives into Bahrain,” Osama Al Oufi, the head of the public prosecution, said.

“The members of that group actually succeeded in smuggling and concealing a shipment of weapons and explosives into the kingdom.”

Investigations revealed that the main suspect had requested one of the group leaders to meet him in Iraq to coordinate the smuggling of another shipment of explosives and weapons.

“Based on the findings of the investigations, the public prosecution issued an arrest and search warrant againt the accused and search their homes and properties, to seize any weapons and explosives found in their possession, and any items related to their criminal activities. Surveillance of the movements of the terrorist group led to the arrest of two of its members who were on a boat receiving weapons, munitions and explosives to be smuggled from a boat at sea into the country. Three other accused group members were also arrested,” Al Oufi said.

Examination of the seized items on the boat revealed a large quantity of explosives and detonators, detonation wire reels, ignition capsules, 50 hand grenades, PK automatic weapons, 1,023 rounds of ammunition, electronic circuits and boards, a Thuraya telephone, mobile phones, GPS device and batteries connected to electrical wire, he added.

“During the search of the homes of some of the accused, as well as two locations used to store weapons and explosives, the competent authorities found explosive materials, two pistols, rounds of ammunition, magazines, a mobile telephone connected to an electric wire, electric circuits and charges ready for detonation after adding explosives produced in the manner they were trained upon in Iran, in addition to welding equipment and various other tools of the types used in the manufacturing of explosives.”

The five suspects admitted that they have joined the group to carry out their plans and commit terrorist acts with religious motivations from their points of view, based on Sharia rulings as they were led to believe by the leaders of the group, the prosecution said.

“They also confessed that they had travelled to Iran and received training by Iranian personnel at Iranian Revolutionary Guard camps at various locations in Iran. They also confessed having received sums of money after training. Their confessions also included detailed accounts of how they received the seized explosives, guns, munitions and equipment from a boat on the high seas manned by an Iraqi crew. They also stated that they reached the boat by using coordinates, which were given to them, all upon the instructions of the leader and other group leaders in Bahrain and abroad.

T”hose instructions also included concealing the smuggled weapons, explosives and tools until the zero hour, to be used at that time in carrying out their plans, targeting vital, sovereign and security installations and assassinating certain figures,” the prosecution said.

Al Oufi added that the accused had been trained on the use of weapons like rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), Kalashnikovs, M16s and MP15s; the manufacture and use of explosives; night sniping and marksmanship techniques; celestial navigation and use of coordinates. They were also trained on methods of smuggling through sea points; piloting boats; long distance swimming; surveillance and monitoring; personal security and avoiding being followed, he said.

Public Prosecution investigations revealed that group members received training on dividing their operations onto three subgroups, he said.

“The first subgroup collects information and determines targeted locations, the second subgroup transports weapons, explosives and bombs, while the third subgroup carries out the operations.”

The investigations also revealed that one of the accused carried out assignments, involving surveillance and photographing certain sites in the Kingdom, and reported on them to leaders in Iran, he said.

“The public prosecution ordered the accused to be held in custody pending the investigation and accused them of collaboration with agents of a foreign country with the intent of committing hostile acts against the Kingdom of Bahrain, joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its objectives and purposes, import and possession of explosives, firearms and munitions without permit for use in activities, which undermine public order and for terrorist purposes, training on the use of weapons, munitions and explosives and smuggling them with the intent of committing terrorist acts, and the supply of a group with monies with full knowledge of its intents and purposes and its engagement in terrorist activities,” Al Oufi said.