Saudi Arabia has led the Gulf Cooperation Council's military mission in
Bahrain. On April 3, the commander of the GCC's Peninsula Shield force, Maj.
Gen. Mutlaq bin Salem Al Azaima, said the mission was meant to protect
Bahrain from what he termed foreign aggression, Middle East Newsline reported.
"Our presence in Bahrain will continue as long as it is needed," Al
The Bahraini Interior Ministry has reported the death of 24 people in
clashes with security forces over the last month. On April 3, the ministry
said a Shi'ite detainee, identified as Hassan Maki and linked to anti-regime
protests, died after he was given medicine for sickle cell disease.
"Maki died in mysterious circumstances after five days in detention,"
the Shi'ite opposition Al Wefaq said.
The sources said the Saudis were storming Shi'ite homes, destroying and
defacing property as well as beating residents in the suburbs of Manama.
They said Shi'ite women were threatened with rape and ordered to leave
Bahrain for Iran.
"They are spreading a reign of terror but they are not invulnerable,"
the source said.
So far, at least two Saudi soldiers, believed to be members of the Saudi
Arabian National Guard, were killed by Shi'ite snipers. In March, Saudi
troops were said to have reduced street operations against the Shi'ite
opposition amid the assessment that activists were carrying firearms.
Saudi Arabia has been the leader in the Gulf Cooperation Council
military deployment in Bahrain. Riyad was believed to have sent to Manama up
to 4,000 troops, including those from units meant to battle Shi'ites in the
Nabil Rajab, director of the Bahrain Human Rights Center, reported Saudi
raids. In one case, scores of men in black ski masks surrounded his house
during a television interview.
The sources said the Saudis were also believed to have been deployed at
roadblocks under the Bahraini military flag. So far, neither Bahrain nor
Saudi Arabia has confirmed the allegations.