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Iranian Terror Plots Foiled in Bahrain and Nigeria

Thu, February 21, 2013

Authorities in Bahrain and Nigeria have foiled planning terrorist attacks on behalf of Iran this week. Government targets were to be attacked in Bahrain, while U.S., Israeli and Jewish sites were targeted in Nigeria.

First, on Wednesday, Nigerian authorities arrested a suspected three-man terror cell. Its leader, Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, is believed to have been trained in Iran and tasked with gathering intelligence on hotels and public places attended by Americans and Israelis. The cell had plans to attack the Lagos office of the U.S. Agency for International Development, an Israel-based company and a Jewish cultural site. They also sought to assassinate former dictator Ibrahim Babangida and a former senior Muslim leader.

Nigeria has been the scene of Iranian meddling before. In 2010, an Iranian arms shipment to the country was intercepted.

Then, on Sunday, eight Bahrainis were arrested in their homeland and Oman for their involvement in a plot allegedly overseen by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who provided them with $80,000. An additional four are still on the loose. The cell members were trained by the Revolutionary Guards inside Iran and by Iraqi Hezbollah in Baghdad and Karbala. The Bahraini Interior Ministry and international airport were their targets.

In a possibly related development, Bahrain also thwarted a bomb attack on the King Fahd Causeway that links the country to Saudi Arabia. It was previously targeted in November 2011.

The Bahraini government is an ally of the West and hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, but the Sunni monarchy rules a Shiite-majority population. Saudi forces intervened to help the government crush an uprising in 2011. Top Iranian officials threatened war and a clash was narrowly avoided when an Iranian flotilla delivering “aid” to the Bahraini opposition returned home.

-- Ryan Mauro