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Bahrain launches investigation into main Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq over online posts

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse Bahraini anti-government protesters waving flags and carrying pictures of jailed Shiite cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the largest opposition political society, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the Manama suburb of Bilad al-Qadeem, Bahrain. Protest marches were held and clashes erupted in opposition areas nationwide Friday, where many shops stayed closed as part of a three-day general strike called by the February 14 opposition youth group before Saturday's fourth anniversary of Bahrain's pro-democracy uprising. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse Bahraini anti-government protesters waving flags and carrying pictures of jailed Shiite cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the largest opposition political society, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in the Manama suburb of Bilad al-Qadeem, Bahrain. Protest marches were held and clashes erupted in opposition areas nationwide Friday, where many shops stayed closed as part of a three-day general strike called by the February 14 opposition youth group before Saturday's fourth anniversary of Bahrain's pro-democracy uprising. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)  (The Associated Press)

Bahraini authorities have launched an investigation into statements by the country's main Shiite opposition group, whose leader is already in jail awaiting a verdict on charges against him.

The Interior Ministry said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the probe involves statements made by the al-Wefaq group on its website and on Twitter. It says the group is suspected of "publicly inciting hatred against the government and distributing false news," and that it allegedly called for "illegal rallies and incited hatred against the Interior Ministry and a foreign country."

It did not provide details. The case has been referred to the public prosecutor's office.

Al-Wefaq did not respond to a request for comment. Leader Ali Salman was arrested in December and denies allegations of incitement to forcibly topple the government.