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Bahrain blasts underscore tensions over lack of political reform (+video)

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(Read caption) In Bahrain last month, police broke up a protest using tear gas and stun grenades. Demonstrations and rallies have since been banned.
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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Less than a week after Bahrain's government banned protests, five bombs detonated across the capital Monday, intensifying concern about an escalation in violence amid frustrations over the pace of political reform.

Protests have been an ongoing feature of life in Bahrain over the past 21 months. But the bombings, which killed two people and seriously injured a third, represented a rare attack on civilians, and spurred finger-pointing between activists and the Sunni government.

Protesters, who are predominately Shiite, have been calling for more jobs, political representation, educational opportunities, and better housing. While the nation is governed by Sunnis, the population is 70 percent Shiite, and “Shiite youth activists in Bahrain – many demanding the downfall of the monarchy – have grown more radical in the past year, and some have used homemade weapons, including bombs, to attack police,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

No one has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s violence in Manama. The interior minister said yesterday that the bombs were homemade, describing the coordinated blasts as terrorist attacks. "It's [bombings] been a pattern, but five in one day – we haven't seen that in 20 months," said the spokesman for the Information Affairs Authority, Fahad al Binali.

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