Jul 28, 8:10 AM EDT

Bahrain: 2 police officers killed, 6 wounded in bomb attack


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AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Two Bahraini policemen were killed and six were wounded in a bomb attack south of the island kingdom's capital on Tuesday, according to authorities.

The blast was the latest in a series of bombings in recent years targeting security forces in the Gulf nation, which continues to face low-level unrest more than four years after widespread protests demanding greater political rights.

The Interior Ministry described the bombing as a "terror blast," and said it took place in the largely Shiite community of Sitra, just south of the capital, Manama. One of the wounded officers sustained serious injuries, the ministry said.

Bahrain is a Sunni-ruled kingdom that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, whose responsibilities include patrolling the busy waters off Iran.

The opposition movement in Bahrain is dominated by the country's Shiite majority, which has long complained of discrimination and heavy-handed treatment by security forces.

Although opposition rallies largely attract peaceful demonstrators, young activists frequently set up makeshift roadblocks and clash with police in Shiite villages. Anti-government activists have planted bombs that have killed or maimed police in the past.

The largest Shiite opposition group, al-Wefaq, condemned the killing.

Tuesday's blast occurred just days after Bahraini authorities announced they had broken up an attempt to smuggle assault rifles, ammunition and explosives into the kingdom. The cargo intercepted earlier this month off the country's coast included nearly 44 kilograms (97 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosives and detonators.

Police linked the smuggling attempt to Iran, alleging that one of the suspects they arrested received military training in the Islamic Republic, and that he and another suspect admitted to receiving the shipment from Iranian handlers.

Iran has denied involvement.

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