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Situation tense in Bahrain after deadly Diraz raid

This image provided by an activist shows Bahraini forces during a raid on a sit-in Diraz, Bahrain, May 23, 2017. (Via AP)

The situation in Bahrain is tense one day after the Manama regime forces violently stormed into the house of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim and killed some of his supporters.

On Tuesday, regime forces broke into Sheikh Qassim’s residence in the village of Diraz, killing at least five people and wounding dozens more.

They fired birdshot and teargas to disperse supporters of the clergyman and detained 286 of them. Reports said 19 policemen were also injured in the clashes.

The photo shows clashes in Diraz, Bahrain, May 23, 2017, following a raid on Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim's residence.

In the evening, several parts of Bahrain witnessed protests against the Diraz attack. The demonstrators expressed their solidarity with Sheikh Qassim and the victims of Tuesday’s raid.

Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, is under house arrest.

People protest in Sar, Bahrain on May 23, 2017, against a raid on Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim's residence.

He was stripped of his nationality last June over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence.

Despite denying the charges, the cleric was handed a suspended one-year prison term and ordered to pay a fine last week.

Iraqis protest Bahrain crackdown

In a show of support for the Bahraini nation’s cause, Iraqi nationals held demonstrations outside Bahrain's Embassy in Baghdad and its Consulate in Najaf to denounce the deadly Diraz raid.

Iraqis protest outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad on May 24, 2017 after a raid on Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim's residence.

The protests were called by Iraqi influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the al-Sumaria news website reported.

The participants in the Najaf rally called on Manama to end Qassim’s house arrest.

Iran MPs blast Manama

Additionally, 154 Iranian lawmakers strongly condemned the Bahraini regime's crimes and the verdict against Sheikh Qassim.

“Unfortunately, the Bahraini administration has issued a cruel ruling against Sheikh Qassim... based on false charges in an unwise and sectarian move,” the MPs said in a statement.

The statement added that the Iranian nation is gravely concerned about Qassim’s verdict and Tuesday’s raid on Diraz, which took place after US President Donald Trump’s trip to the region, and with the green light of the US and UK as well as the Saudi support.

It further warned that the Al Khalifah regime’s continuation of its “anti-religion, inhumane” policies as well as Manama’s disregard of people’s legitimate demands would have “unpredictable consequences.”

Speaking to Press TV on the situation in Bahrain, US author and lecturer Colin Cavell said “the Al Kahlifah dynasty in Bahrain now believes that with the backing of President Trump ... it can act with total impunity.”

The “unelected illegal dictatorial regime” of Bahrain is facing a “direct challenge” as citizens “are going to stand up and ... refuse to cooperate with” Manama.

“Let’s make no mistake. It is the Al Khalifah regime which has started this civil war. It is the Al Khalifah regime which is using violence to enforce its will. It is the Al Khalifah regime which does not act according to law, nor justice and just acts with impunity and violates the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration of Human Rights,” he pointed out.

Daily anti-regime rallies have been held in the tiny Persian Gulf country since the popular uprising began in February 2011.

The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.

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