Middle East

Protesters, police clash near Bahrain home of Shiite cleric

FILE -- In this Nov. 21, 2014 file photo, prominent Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheik Isa Qassim, speaks during midday prayers Friday, in the village of Diraz, Bahrain. Security forces wearing black ski masks have clashed with protesters near the Bahrain home of a prominent Shiite cleric. Activists said early Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, that police fired birdshot and live ammunition in Diraz, near the home of Qassim. The cleric lost his citizenship in June over the Sunni-ruled government's allegations that he fueled extremism and laundered money.
 (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

FILE -- In this Nov. 21, 2014 file photo, prominent Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheik Isa Qassim, speaks during midday prayers Friday, in the village of Diraz, Bahrain. Security forces wearing black ski masks have clashed with protesters near the Bahrain home of a prominent Shiite cleric. Activists said early Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, that police fired birdshot and live ammunition in Diraz, near the home of Qassim. The cleric lost his citizenship in June over the Sunni-ruled government's allegations that he fueled extremism and laundered money. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)  (The Associated Press)

Security forces wearing black ski masks have clashed with protesters near the Bahrain home of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Activists said police fire birdshot and live ammunition in Diraz, home to Sheikh Isa Qassim, early Thursday. The cleric lost his citizenship in June over the Sunni-ruled government's allegations that he fueled extremism and laundered money.

The activists said several people were wounded. Police did not immediately comment.

A wide-scale crackdown on dissent is underway in Bahrain, a Shiite-majority island that hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency said late Wednesday that 20 people faced charges in three separate cases over attacks on suspected police informants. It said one victim "tortured" in Diraz later died.