2123 GMT: Bahrain. Meanwhile, the regime claims that their police were attacked by rioters and vandals, some of whom threw molotov cocktails:
(14) صور لأعمال الشغب والتخريب على شارع البديع في ختام عزاء متوفى بالديه twitter.com/moi_bahrain/st…— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) February 19, 2013
2110 GMT: Bahrain. The Bahraini government is saying that it has arrested 8 members of a terror cell suspected of plotting against the government. Here is part of the press release, which can be read in full here:
The Chief said that the National Security Agency (NSA) received information indicated there was a Bahraini terror cell operating in the Gulf region. The cell targeted for attack a series of sensitive locations and public figures in Bahrain. These attacks were designed to destabilize the nation's security and economy. An investigation was launched to identify the group's key players, goals, methods of financing and training.
The investigation revealed that the armed group used the name Army of the Imam. The cell recruited Bahrainis to collect information on public figures and take photos of sensitive locations. Members were also trained in the use of weapons, explosives (including C4), supervision of other cell members, the writing of surveillance reports and the monitoring of targeted persons.
The training took place in Iranian Revolutionary Guard facilities and Iraqi Hezbollah facilities in Karbala and Baghdad. The Chief said that members of the cell received a total of $80,000 provided to them by the mastermind of the operation, a man nicknamed Abunasser who is an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The Chief stated that the suspects confessed to having been recruited through two Bahrainis nicknamed Mirza and Aqeel who are stationed in Qom, Iran. The first suspect who was arrested, Ali Al Samahiji, was recruited to participate in the terror cell when he was in Iran. He then went on to handle the selection and recruitment of further Bahrainis under the supervision of Mirza and Aqeel.
The investigation has revealed that the cell consists of Bahrainis who live both inside and outside the country as well as a number of non-Bahrainis. The Chief said that 8 members, 5 of which live in Bahrain and 3 of which live in Oman, were arrested last month. Four additional suspects are still on the run. The investigation into the case continues. The first arrests were made on 24 January 2013 and the case was referred to the Public Prosecution.
Interestingly, John Horne adds that one of the people accused of being a member of the terror cell is Haitham AlHaddad, who designed the logo for the Bahrain government's "Vision 2030" project several years ago. AlHaddad was one of 8 accused Bahraini citizens arrested from Oman.
2050 GMT: Bahrain. It's been another day of protests and clashes and mourning in the streets of Bahrain, though we're still processing this weekend's unrest. Prominent activist Abu Haider sends us two more videos of Saturday's funeral for 16 year old Hassan AlJazeeri who was killed on Thursday. The funeral procession was reportedly harassed by police, and protests afterwards were disrupted by a heavy crackdown. In this first video, the funeral procession for AlJazeeri marches on, while teargas clouds rise in the background:
Afterwards, protesters scatter, reportedly to avoid police jeeps, and teargas is reportedly shot into the crowd:
Meanwhile, protests and clashes continued today as well, according to both government officials and opposition activists. The opposition party AlWefaq reports:
1945 GMT: Palestine. The Hamas, which controls Gaza, and local smugglers have accused Egypt of flooding cross-border tunnels with sewage water to halt a thriving smuggling trade that has propped up the local economy for the past five years.
Smugglers said Egyptian military forces were digging water wells and pumping wastewater toward the smuggling area for the past two days. One smuggler said he had to halt operations and rush his workers out after his tunnel filled with sewage.
The Egyptian effort appears to be aimed at closing down the illegal routes to control the movement of goods into Gaza. It follows an Egyptian-brokered deal that eased Israeli restrictions on building material entering the Palestinian territory.
Yousef Rizka, an adviser to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, urged Egypt to allow the tunnels to operate until restrictions on imports to Gaza are lifted.
Israel and Egypt have restricted the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza since Hamas consolidated its leadership of the territory in 2007.
The 250 border tunnels, in which an estimated 2000 men and boys work, have maintained a modest construction boom in Gaza.
One of the four, Samer al-Issawi, has been refusing food intermittently for more than 200 days and is reportedly in deteriorating health.
The prisoners have been campaigning against the Israeli system of "administrative detention", under which detainees can be held indefinitely without trial.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club said 800 prisoners were taking part in the day-long fast.
1555 GMT: Egypt. The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has criticised a proposed Egyptian law limiting protests.
"Although freedom of assembly can be subject to certain restrictions, freedom should be considered the rule, and restrictions the exception," spokesman Rupert Colville said. He claimed the draft legislation, approved last week by Egypt's Cabinet, would undermine "one of the cornerstones of democracy".
The draft stipulates that organisers must inform authorities in advance of plans to protest and the Ministry of Interior has the right to reject a demonstration.
Protests will be restricted to a specific location in each province to be decided by the governor.The draft also prohibits setting up platforms for speakers and the use of tents during sit-ins, as well as the carrying of banners or the chanting of slogans deemed defamatory or insulting to religion or state institutions.
1415 GMT: Egypt. Last night, protests raged in the Nile Delta industrial town of Mahalla for the 4th consecutive day in a row. Today, an uneasy calm prevails, as there is finally a break in the anti-Morsi protests there. However, it remains to be seen whether there will once again be more protests tonight:
Protesters converging at a local police station in Gharbiya governorate threw stones and Molotov cocktail. In response police fired tear gas, reports Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
According to a health ministry source, no injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, security forces and protesters clashed back and forth in Shoun Square, with protesters setting fire to tyres and throwing stones at police.
1411 GMT: Yemen. At least 5 people have died, and 11 have been wounded, a a military fighter plane crashed in a residential neighborhood of Yemen's capital city, Sana'a:
The aircraft came down near Change Square, scene of anti-government protests under the former regime.
The plane was on a training flight when it crashed, Yemeni officials said.
Two homes were hit, the interior ministry said, with reports of people trapped under rubble. TV pictures showed cars on fire at the scene.
Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been in jail since pro-democracy demonstrations began in Bahrain two years ago. The center’s vice president, Said Yousif al-Muhafdha, has also been imprisoned on several occasions.
Mr. Muhafdha continues to fight for human rights even though the Bahraini government has clamped down on any opposition, intensifying its electronic surveillance. “No matter how I communicate, they know,” Mr. Muhafdha said in an interview. “The regime has sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment allowing it to spy on everything we do by social media, e-mail and phone.”...
The two companies in question [over sale of the equipment to Bahrain] are Gamma International, which is British-German, and Trovicor, which is German. Both make software that allows users to infect computer and phone devices and intercept e-mails, social media messages and Skype calls....
Gamma International confirmed that it was the subject of a complaint at the National Contact Point office in Britain. “Intrusion software is a relatively new form of technology. Laws around the world are being modified to ensure its legal use,” Martin J. Muench, Gamma’s managing director, replied to e-mailed questions. “Export licensing for Intrusion Software is under constant review by the export authorities.”
Mr. Muench, however, would not confirm whether Gamma had sold such equipment to Bahrain. “Naming a client can prejudice criminal or counterterror investigations and compromise security of the members of the police or security services involved,” he stated.
Trovicor would not confirm the complaint. “Trovicor’s product and systems aim to protect and keep nations, citizens and public infrastructure safe,” Birgitt Fischer-Harrow, the company’s spokeswoman, replied to e-mailed questions. “As a supplier of lawful interception technology, Trovicor conducts a legal business and strictly observes all international laws.”
“I say in all clarity that the initiative I presented – that is to say, a government composed of members not belonging to any political parties – failed to reach a consensus,” Jebali said after talks with leaders of his Ennadha Party, the main faction in the ruling coalition, and other groups.
“Another form of government” was still a possibility.
Jebali made the proposal within hours of the 6 February assassination of opposition politician Chokri Belaid, but Ennadha quickly rejected the initiative. The following two weeks have been taken up with negotiations to find a way forward.
Belaid's death sparked mass protests, calling for reforms and a crackdown on conservative Salafist groups blamed for violence. Supporters of Ennadha responded with their own rallies.