Middle East Online
MANAMA – Bahraini airlines have suspended flights to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, where Shiite communities have criticised the kingdom’s response to Shiite-led protests in the Gulf state, the airlines said Wednesday.
On Friday, Bahrain carried out a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists demonstrating since February 14 in the tiny Shiite-majority, Sunni-ruled kingdom.
Iran condemned last week’s intervention of troops from neighbouring Gulf states in support of Manama, while Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah has offered unspecified support for the Shiite-led Bahraini opposition.
And thousands of protesters have turned out in Iraq in shows of support for Bahraini Shiites.
One Gulf Air booking agent said by telephone that cancellations to Iran and Iraq were due to “operational reasons.” Another said: “What we know is that Gulf Air cancelled the flights. We don’t know the reason.”