Bahrain Arrests Five Men Allegedly Planning Terror Attacks

Bahraini authorities broke up an alleged terrorist ring that planned attacks in this Persian Gulf kingdom, home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, the official Bahrain News Agency reported Saturday.

Quoting an unidentified official, the agency said five Bahraini men aged 31-41 were arrested for plotting acts against the island's "national interests and endangering the lives of innocent citizens."

Police seized weapons and ammunition that the detainees planned to use in "terrorist activities," the official told the agency.

Bahraini officials declined to give further details on the arrests, saying the investigation was continuing.

It was not clear when the men were arrested, nor was there any comment on whether the men were acting alone or had links to a larger terrorist network. The detentions were the first terrorism-related arrests in Bahrain since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

On Wednesday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the first Arab states to announce they were sending troops to defend Kuwait in case the United States goes to war with Iraq. Bahrain said it would send its only frigate and an unspecified number of soldiers.

This island hosts 4,000 American military personnel and may play a role in a U.S. war with Iraq.

With anti-U.S. sentiment growing in the Gulf region over a possible war, U.S. military planners have taken precautions to prevent attacks like the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Last month, U.S. Navy chiefs ordered the deployment of high-speed Navy patrol cutters to the Gulf to protect U.S. military ships, oil tankers and other vessels.