World Bulletin/News Desk
The leader of Bahrain's leading opposition party was hit by a rubber bullet and teargas canister during clashes with riot police on Friday, the party said, describing it as an escalation of government efforts to stop protests.
Sheikh Ali Salman was hit on the chest and shoulder, his Wefaq party said in a statement, and several others were also injured including Hassan Marzouk, pictures of whom circulated on social media showing him lying on the ground covered in blood around the neck.
There was no immediate Interior Ministry comment on the incident, but the ministry said late on Thursday it would prevent Wefaq organising a protest in the Sehla district on the edge of the capital.
It said the protest would obstruct traffic and that it had licensed numerous Wefaq protests already this year.
Witnesses said there was a heavy police presence to stop protesters reaching the site. They saw police fire teargas and demonstrators throwing petrol bombs.
"Security forces have been careful in dealing professionally with political leaders but this time was different. It seems a gradual crackdown is going on," said senior Wefaq party member Matar Matar. "They are closing the small margin for freedom of expression."
The Gulf Arab state, which hosts Washington's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in February 2011, after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
The ruling Al Khalifa family has extended parliament's powers of scrutiny over ministers and budgets, but rejected demands for full legislative powers and elected governments.
The government says Wefaq and its supporters have a Shi'ite sectarian agenda. The opposition says this is an excuse to avoid giving up privileges.
'2015 was by and large a decent year for news on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,' International Institute for Strategic Studies chief says
State-run television says a 'number of citizens' were killed and injured
'The fact that the Guardian Council added over 1,400 to the approved list shows the efficiency of the government's follow-ups and consultations,' interior ministry says
Two separate trials have been opened in UAE against 26 people in total over suspected links to Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah armed groups
UN refugee agency wants Turkey to open its borders to the Syrians fleeing from Aleppo
'We have discussed the potential value of a special operations capability inside that element, which would be valuable,' Saudi foreign minister says
Forces loyal to Hadi lay siege Aden's central Mansura district and clashed with militants, while coalition Apache helicopters provided air cover
The proposal, denounced by critics as likely to encourage a witch-hunt against leftist groups that campaign for the defence of Palestinian rights, passed nonetheless following a tense debate
FM Steinmeier is to host meeting on Thursday of foreign ministers from US, Russia and regional powers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey
Footage showing Egypt president's convoy driving over several kilometres of red carpet sparks outrage on social media
The Islamic republic's supreme leaders urges officials not to be distracted by upcoming election and focus on 'major issues', such as economy
UN commission of inquiry on Syria accused Damascus of committing 'extermination as a crime against humanity'
Opposition factions north of Syria's second city Aleppo have been increasingly stuck 'between the pincers' of Kurdish YPG forces on one side and pro-regime fighters on the other
Human Rights Watch denounces Egyptian justice minister's call to kill Muslim Brotherhood members
Saudi air defense has said that it destroyed a scud missile that was launched from Yemen.
Abu Dhabi says it is prepared to help int'l coalition against terrorist group; announcement comes days after Saudi Arabia pledges support