Bahrain security high for Formula One race amid terror threats

Special to WorldTribune.com

ABU DHABI — Bahrain has approved a plan to secure an international
motor race.

Officials said the Interior Ministry has launched measures to protect
the Formula One Grand Prix race, an international event expected to attract thousands
to Bahrain.

Felipe Massa finds his form in the Bahrain desert. The Formula One Grand Prix got underway with practice on April 19 with qualifying on April 20 and the race on April 21.  /AFP
Felipe Massa finds his form in the Bahrain desert. The Formula One Grand Prix got underway with practice on April 19 with qualifying on April 20 and the race on April 21. /AFP

The officials said the plan would restrict traffic and bolster deployment
of security forces around the capital Manama.

“There are terrorist acts taking place in the country, but there are
already plans in motion to tackle these threats,” Col. Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, a senior police commander, said.

The plan was disclosed in wake of threats by Shi’ite insurgents to
disrupt Formula One. On April 14, insurgents claimed responsibility for four bombings around Manama and warned that they would target the car race.

Hamad, deputy commandant of the Royal Police Academy, said police were training to identify suspected attackers from the tens of thousands expected to attend Formula One, which was canceled in 2011.

“Being such a large event in Bahrain there is special training for each
operation,” Hamad told the Manama-based Gulf Daily News. “We are giving
police updates on techniques for spotting potential suspects.”

Officials said the security plan called for the deployment of demolition
specialists that could identify and neutralize bombs. They said officers
were also being stationed along major roads, including those near the route
of the race.

“The bomb squad will be there, but they were going to be there anyway so
nothing has changed,” Hamad said.

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