Bomb explodes near British Embassy in Bahrain’s capital

Bomb explodes near British Embassy in Bahrain’s capital

MANAMA, Bahrain-The Associated Press
Bomb explodes near British Embassy in Bahrain’s capital

In this photo provided by the Bahraini government via Bahrain News Agency, a vehicle damaged by a blast is seen outside the British Embassy compound in Manama, Bahrain, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011. AP photo

A canister containing powerful explosive material blew apart the front of a minibus near the British Embassy in Bahrain’s capital yesterday, the Interior Ministry said.

There were no injuries or other serious damage.

Interior Ministry spokesman Salah Salem described the material as “highly explosive” and said it was undergoing further analysis.

Authorities gave no details on possible suspects, but security has been boosted sharply across Bahrain during annual Shiite Muslim religious ceremonies. Bahrain’s majority Shiites began an uprising in February seeking greater rights from the Gulf kingdom’s Sunni rulers. Some apparent Sunni protesters have jeered or tossed stones at the Shiite religious processions in recent days.

Salem said the blast ripped away one of wheels from the minibus and shattered its windows in a public parking lot about 50 meters from the British Embassy in the capital, Manama. It was not immediately clear whether the blast’s proximity to the embassy was intentional.

It comes less than a week after mobs in Iran’s capital stormed the British Embassy and a residential compound for diplomatic staff, leading Britain to pull its diplomats from Iran and expel Iranian envoys from London.

Bahrain’s rulers claim Iran has links to Shiite protesters in the strategic Gulf island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Shiite leaders in Bahrain deny any connections to Tehran and an independent commission report into the unrest also found no evidence of ties.