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Washington Slaps Iran-Backed Bahraini Cell With Sanctions

The United States on Tuesday continued its recent tear of blacklisting Iran-backed organizations, designating the Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar group as a terrorist entity for its alleged targeting of US military personnel stationed in the Gulf state. Tuesday’s announcement, the latest in a slew of sanctions levied by Washington before President Donald Trump’s January departure from the White House, was hailed by Bahraini government officials, who accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in the small Arab island nation. Some US intelligence officials, on the other hand, say the small group has been largely dormant for the past three years. In the 2011 Arab spring uprisings, thousands of Bahrain’s Shi’ite Muslim majority staged major protests against the kingdom’s Sunni royal family. The short-lived unrest was largely stomped out thanks to Saudi and Emirati aid. Manama blames Tehran for covertly instigating the 2011 demonstrations, as well as the sporadic terror attacks carried out against its security forces since then.