Bahrain says security 'stable'

High tension

MANAMA - Bahrain's interior ministry said on Monday that security across the kingdom was "stable" amid a heavy police presence, and as the opposition announced two new Shiite fatalities.
The ministry also said in a statement that the Salmaniya Medical Complex has been "secured and is providing normal medical services," insisting that the "hospital was open for everyone."
International organisations had slammed Bahrain's storming of the facility on Wednesday, the day a month-old pro-democracy protest was crushed, while Manama said medical staff had turned it into a protest ground and a base for demonstrators.
Shiite policeman Jawad al-Shamlan was found dead on Monday with a gunshot wound to the stomach, said Matar Matar, a member of the Al-Wefaq Shiite political association.
Shamlan went missing on Wednesday, when security forces drove the predominantly Shiite protesters from Manama's Pearl Square, said Matar, one of 18 MPs who resigned last month in protest at violence against demonstrators.
He said Shamlan was not counted among the police killed in confrontations and who were honoured by the interior ministry. He was buried on Monday in his village of Hajar, west of Manama.
Al-Wefaq also announced on its Facebook page that a Shiite woman, Bahiya al-Aradi, was pronounced dead on Monday after being shot in the head.
Aradi, 51, went missing on Wednesday evening, and a car that she drove was found the day after in al-Qadam village, west of Manama, with bloodstains on the driver's seat, Al-Wefaq said.
Their deaths bring to 15 the toll of Shiite Bahrainis killed since protests began last month, according to an Al-Wefaq toll. The interior ministry said four policemen were killed.
The ministry said that police were now ensuring a "heavy security presence around the clock in all provinces," adding that patrols are operating round the clock.
It said roadblocks installed by "outlaws in northern provinces" -- in reference to Shiite villages -- have been cleared.
The ministry said that police had to "deal with a group saboteurs who tried to prevent" the removal of barriers in one area.
Meanwhile, the education ministry said that schools will reopen on Tuesday. US, Gulf forces stage naval exercise US and Gulf naval forces have staged a joint exercise in the Gulf focused on tracking vessels deemed threatening, the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Force (CMF) said on Monday.
Ships from Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States took part in the seven-day Exercise Goalkeeper 11-01 in central and southern Gulf waters to "train across the spectrum of Maritime Security Operations (MSO)", CMF said in a statement.
It did not disclose when it happened.
The exercise focused on coordinating coalition security operations at sea, as well as "improving the dissemination of information among regional command centres and building relationships between contributing nations," said Bahraini Colonel Isa al-Doseri.
He currently heads the Combined Task Force 152 that is in charge of Gulf security and cooperation task force within CMF.
Doseri said the "exercise's key focus was working as a synchronised coalition team at sea and on shore to meet the challenge of locating and tracking specific vessels deemed to pose a threat of any kind to maritime security or to coalition nations in the Gulf region."
The announcement came shortly after Kuwaiti ships were deployed to Bahrain waters to take part in a joint Gulf force that entered the Gulf state last week to help quell a Shiite-led month-old protest.
It also follows a decision by the Bahraini authorities to impose a maritime night curfew off a large part of its coast, without specifying the threat.
Tension has escalated between Gulf Arab states and Iran on the northern shore of the narrow Gulf, as Tehran condemned the deployment of Gulf troops in Bahrain and slammed the heavy-handed crackdown on protests.
CMF is a multi-national naval partnership in the Middle East, where some of the world's most important shipping lanes are located.