Five men arrested for plotting terror attacks in Bahrain are connected to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and reportedly received military training in Syria, ABC News reports. The November arrests of the suspects, who allegedly planned to assassinate Bahraini political leaders and blow up the island nation's only bridge to Saudi Arabia, has escalated already high tensions between Sunni nations and the West with Shiite Muslims led by Iran.
The Bahraini terrorism suspects were arrested while traveling to neighboring Qatar, on their way to train with Iran's Revolution Guard, a government official said. The group was caught carrying "maps of vital Bahraini infrastructure," "a laptop containing sensitive security information," plane reservations to Syria and large amounts of American dollars and Iranian rials. ABC News sources also said that the group had spent time in a military training camp on the Lebanese-Syrian border, where they received instructions on using explosives and carrying out assassinations.
The incident adds to deteriorating relations between the Sunni Arabian Gulf states and the Shiite Iran-Syria-Hizballah axis. Sunni Syrian protesters have been struggling against the Shiite government, Hizballah, and Iranian forces, and have been supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Saudis have also supported Western calls against Iran's nuclear program, prompting Iranian threats to close off all oil exports from the region.
A member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard was also charged last October in connection with a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, as well as planning to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies there. Reports indicate that Iran has also recently plotted to strike Jewish and Western targets abroad.