Bahrain police raid Shia cleric's town, 1 dead

Protester killed as police raid Bahrain sit-in: NGO

Police arrested 286 people, including "terrorists and convicted felons" who hid inside of Qassim's home, the Interior Ministry said. Another video showed a bulldozer smashing through the area that once hosted the sit-in. "Police will remain at the site to ensure people's safety".

Other pictures posted by activists showed at least 10 armored police cars lining up, officers shooting tear gas cannisters and masked protesters erecting road blocks with planks and cinder blocks. Two of his aides received similar sentences. Police responded by surrounding Diraz and restricting access in recent months.

A court a year ago stripped him of his citizenship, sparking repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.

The Iranian diplomat further called on Bahrain to stop relying on support from certain foreign sides for opposing religious and political leaders as well as people's legitimate demands, and instead to put its trust in its own people and adopt a political approach and pursue national dialogue for settling the country's crisis.

Bahrain has been shaken by unrest since security forces crushed Shia-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister in 2011. But a yearlong government crackdown on dissent has raised the stakes, with local Shiite militant groups claiming some attacks.

Bahrain has imprisoned dozens of Shias accused of taking part in demonstrations and stripped at least 316 Bahrainis of their nationality since 2012, according to Amnesty International. Independent news gathering on the island also has grown more hard, with the government refusing to accredit two Associated Press journalists and others.

Zia al-Bahrani, a top leader of Bahrain's opposition February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, said the Al Khalifah regime, emboldened by US President Donald Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, was aided by troops from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to launch an offensive on Diraz.

Trump told the king on Sunday it was "a great honour to be with you" and said there "has been a little strain but there won't be strain with this administration".

In his first visit overseas to the Saudi capital Riyadh, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday Washington's relations with Bahrain were set to improve, after tensions with his predecessor Barack Obama over the kingdom's rights record.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement following Tuesday's raid in Bahrain, saying that the timing of the operation, two days after Trump's friendly meeting, "can hardly be a coincidence".

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