Four Bahrain policemen wounded in car bomb attack
DUBAI - A car bomb attack wounded four Bahraini policemen in a Shiite Muslim village near the capital Manama, the authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom said on Friday.
Bahrain has been rocked by sporadic violence since its security forces crushed a month of massive Arab Spring-inspired democracy protests by its Shiites in 2011.
In the latest unrest, assailants remotely detonated a bomb as a police patrol passed by the car in which it had been planted in the village of Sahla on Thursday night, said the interior ministry.
"Four policemen were slightly wounded" in the explosion, said the ministry, adding that an investigation had been launched to find the perpetrators of the "terrorist act".
Clashes erupted in Shiite-populated villages around Manama on Thursday evening when riot police intervened to disperse demonstrations called by the opposition February 14 Coalition youth group, witnesses said.
The protesters hurled firebombs and stones at the security forces, who responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades.
The latest unrest came two days after the resumption of a national dialogue aimed at ending the Gulf monarchy's political deadlock, following a two-month summer break.
On August 17, five police officers were wounded when an explosive device went off during clashes with opposition protesters in the Shiite village of Dair, north of Manama.
Bahrain, a strategic archipelago just across the Gulf from Iran, is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet and Washington is a longstanding ally of the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty.
At least 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since Arab Spring-inspired pro-democracy protests erupted in February 2011, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.