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Bahrain Arrests 5 Suspected Terrorists - 2003-02-15

Authorities in Bahrain have arrested five men on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks in the Gulf state.

A Bahraini government spokesman, who declined to be identified, told VOA that five Bahraini citizens, aged 31 to 41, have been charged with plotting violent acts against innocent citizens. "A number of weapons and ammunitions were seized, which the group was planning to use, for carrying out acts of terrorism, targeting the security of the country, and the people," he said.

It is not clear when the men were arrested or who they were targeting. The arrests are the first terrorist-related arrests in Bahrain since the attacks in the United States in September, 2001.

Bahrain, a staunch U.S. ally in the Gulf region, is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. In recent weeks, thousands of additional American military personnel have been gathering here in preparation for a possible strike against Iraq.

Earlier this week, a taped message believed to be from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, urged all Muslims to resist any U.S. attack on Iraq. Bahraini officials say investigators are still trying to determine whether the men have links to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.