Five bomb explosions have struck the Bahraini capital, killing two street cleaners and injuring a janitor, say officials. The blasts come amidst escalating violence between anti-regime activists pushing for reform and the nation’s Sunni monarchy.
Government authorities say the blasts were caused by coordinated homemade bombs detonated in the Manama neighborhoods of Gudaibiya and Adliya.
The first victim was killed in the initial bomb blast, while the second died of his wounds in hospital. A third explosion in Adliya seriously injured a janitor, said government officials. A number of media reports indicate the victims were of Asian origin.
A preliminary investigation has revealed that the first explosion was triggered when one of the victims kicked a makeshift explosive device.
Bahraini state news has condemned the blasts as a “terrorist attack.”
The citizens of Manama have been warned not to touch any “strange objects” and to report anything suspicious to the authorities.
But Patrick Henningsen, a geopolitical analyst, explained to RT that he believes that the bombings mark a break from the normal anti-regime protests seen in Bahrain since February and that this doesn’t fit the modus operandi of the reform movement in Bahrain.
“If the protest movement was behind the bombings, they would have targeted government facilities, police facilities to make more of a statement. So we should may be ask if this is a false flag bombing whereby parts of the security agencies or mercenaries hired by them have set off the bombs in order to radicalize the protest movement but also to give the government a justification for a heavy crackdown on pro reformists movements,” he said.
Henningsen also raised the possibility that the bombings may have been targeted assassinations of either the victims or were perhaps intended for other residents of the nearby buildings.
Henningsen added that he believes the uprising in Bahrain is not receiving sufficient media coverage in the western mainstream media because it is an ally of the west.
“The opposition uprisings in Kuwait and Bahrain, I believe they are genuine Arab spring uprisings, because Bahrain and Kuwait are western staunch allies and especially because Bahrain is such a strategically important piece on the chessboard housing the US fifth fleet, therefore the west will not cover this in the mainstream media,” he said.
Jalal Fairooz, a former Bahraini MP, who served in the opposition Al Wefaq party, told RT it is the Bahraini government who gain from causing more bloodshed. He stressed that over the past 20 months of protest in Bahrain there has been no violence from the demonstrators.
He added that there was a lot of ambiguity surrounding the bombing, “There is no independent source [to verify] these so called explosions, secondly they showed only one person dead in hospital, what happened to the other injured persons? Also there were contradictory statements, first they said five explosions, then they said there were three,” he said.
Fairooz suggested that the government might be behind the bombing, citing an apparent explosion two months ago, which in response to the government besieged a village, only later to backtrack and claim that there hadn’t been a bombing.
Anti-government uprisings have wracked Bahrain for the last 21-months, claiming at least 55 lives since their outbreak last February. Bahrain’s Shiite majority protest that they are marginalized by the country’s Sunni monarchy and are pushing for democratic reform.
The move was decried by the UN who condemned it as counter-productive and called for the ban to be lifted immediately.
Washington has thus far been reluctant to condemn the social upheaval in Bahrain, as the Gulf Island nation hosts the US Fifth Fleet.