Prisoners held on terror charges in Bahrain freed during deadly jailbreak

Middle East island state has been hit by protests since the start of the Arab Spring

Sunday 01 January 2017 18:14
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Dozens died in anti-government protests in Bahrain in 2011
Dozens died in anti-government protests in Bahrain in 2011

Gunmen have attacked a prison in Bahrain killing one police officer and freeing several prisoners.

The incident occurred in Jaw prison, south of the capital Manama, and sparked a security lockdown in the area.

It is not yet known the exact number of inmates who have escaped but it is thought they were either being held on terrorism charges or had been found guilty.

"An armed attack on the Jau reform and rehabilitation centre resulted in the death of policeman Abdul Salam Saif and the escape of a number of inmates convicted of terrorist crimes," the ministry said in a statement posted on its Twitter account.

There has been low-level unrest in Bahrain since the Arab Spring protests and there was a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent earlier this year.

Demonstrators have occupied Manama’s Pearl Roundabout to demand an end to discrimination of Shia Muslims in the country and to push for greater democracy.

Bahrain has a population of 1.33 million and is a group of islands off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

The islands hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet and a British naval base that is currently under-construction.

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