Manama: A Bahraini court has revoked the citizenship of nine men as it sentenced them to life in prison on charges of being part of a terrorist cell that smuggled weapons and explosives via the sea into the country.

The High Criminal Court on Monday said that it based its ruling on the 2006 anti-terror legislation amended in 2003 after it found the defendants guilty of weapon-smuggling, planning terrorist attacks on vital and security installations and spreading chaos in the country.

Iran-backed cell

The defendants were reportedly part of an Iran-backed cell busted in December after security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons and ammunition into the country.

“Thanks to the deployment plan of the Coast Guard patrols and the use of radars, a target was located 118 nautical miles off north eastern Bahrain, in international waters, sailing towards Bahrain,” Public Security Chief Major — General Tareq Hassan Al Hassan said at a press conference .

“The target was followed until it entered territorial waters in eastern Al Jarem, and with the support of the police air patrols, it was seized at 4.50 pm, around two nautical miles away from the coast. The target was a 29-foot boat with two 200-horsepower engines. Two Bahrainis were on board of the boat,” he said.

Deadly payload

The police 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 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.

The Coast Guard 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.

“The operation was documented visually,” Al Hassan said.

Bahrain on August 6 revoked the citizenship of nine Bahrainis after the court found them guilty of contacts with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, forming a terrorist group and smuggling weapons into Bahrain.