The interior ministry has claimed that the explosion was ‘a dangerous act of terrorism aimed at harming the safety of the people’
Bahrain said an explosion which caused a fire at its main oil pipeline on Friday was caused by “terrorist” sabotage, linking the unprecedented attack to its arch-foe Iran, which denies any role in the Gulf island kingdom’s unrest.
A key Western ally and host to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, Sunni Muslim-ruled Bahrain has for years grappled with protests and sporadic violence coming from its Shi‘ite majority.
“The incident was an act of sabotage and a dangerous act of terrorism aimed at harming the higher interests of the nation and the safety of the people,” the interior ministry said on its website.
“Terrorist acts witnessed by the country in the recent period are carried out through direct contacts and instructions from Iran,” the statement quoted Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as saying.
In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi rejected the allegations as “false talk and childish accusations”, the ministry said on its website.
Bahraini authorities said they had brought under control the fire at the oil pipeline.
State-run Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) closed the flow of oil to the stricken pipeline, the civil defence said in a statement earlier on Saturday.
Residents close to the incident near Buri village, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the capital Manama, were being evacuated to a safe shelter, the statement added.
Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said pumping to Bahrain had been suspended and the kingdom was stepping up security precautions at its own facilities.