US issues security alert for citizens in Bahrain

The United States Embassy in Bahrain on Monday warned American citizens in the Gulf kingdom of the “need for caution”, days after Manama signed a US-backed deal with Israel.

“The Embassy encourages all US citizens to review their personal security plans, remain aware of their surroundings, including local events, and maintain a high level of vigilance,” an embassy statement read.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates last week signed deals to normalise ties with Israel at the White House, breaking with decades of Arab consensus that there would be no relations with the Jewish state until it had made peace with the Palestinians.

Small sporadic protests took place in Bahrain on Friday against the deals, a rare display of dissent in the oil-rich island nation.

Since 2011, protests have been extremely rare in the kingdom and are met harshly by security forces.

The embassy encouraged citizens to “keep a low profile” and to “avoid crowds and demonstrations”.

Bahrain is a key US ally in the Gulf and hosts the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain’s King, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa, said on Monday that the deal with Israel was “not directed against anyone”, state media reported.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has faced unrest among its large Shiite community, which it has consistently blamed on Iran.

Both Manama and Dubai share with Israel a vehemently anti-Iran foreign policy stance and Tehran has slammed the normalisation moves. (AFP)