Bomb blast in Bahrain's Sitra village injures policeman: official

MANAMA Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:06pm EDT

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MANAMA (Reuters) - A bomb exploded on Saturday in the Bahraini village of Sitra, east of Manama, causing minor injuries to a policeman, a source from Bahrain's interior ministry said.

It was not immediately clear who planted the bomb or the extent of the damage.

The source told Reuters that some protesters in Sitra had also clashed with the police using iron rods and Molotov cocktails, but that no further details on casualties were available.

In a separate incident, unknown individuals set a car on fire in the kingdom's capital of Manama on a road close to the interior ministry's headquarters, but no injuries were reported.

"Thugs burn car on Shaikh Mohamed road," the Ministry of Interior said on its official Twitter account.

The Sunni Muslim-led island kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has suffered low-level civil unrest since mass protests in 2011 led by Shi'ites demanding political reforms.

Both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and military alliance that also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.

In 2011, Saudi Arabia and UAE sent forces to support Bahrain's rulers and quell pro-democracy demonstrators demanding reforms. However, small-scale demonstrations remain frequent and often lead to clashes with security forces.

Negotiations between the government and opposition aimed at ending the turbulence have stalled.

(Reporting by Farishta Saeed; Writing by Amena Bakr; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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