Senior members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group were recruited by Bahrain in a secret plot to assassinate heads of opposition groups, prominent dissidents and activists, according to a sensational documentary aired by Al Jazeera's Arabic-language news channel.
Titled "Playing with fire", the 52-minute documentary exposed recordings and communications between Bahraini intelligence and Al-Qaeda members to form a secret cell on the authorisation of the King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
The documentary claimed that King Hamad had personally intervened to ensure the plots success by having one of the Al-Qaeda commanders, Mohammed Saleh, released when he was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
Iran was amongst the targets. The documentary found that officers from Bahraini intelligence met with Al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups based in Iran's south-eastern province of Baluchistan, to co-ordinate operations within the Islamic Republic.
Saleh, head of Al-Qaeda in Bahrain is seen confessing that he met officials in the National Security Agency who asked him to lead a cell to assassinate Shia dissidents in 2003. Saleh said he made calls with leaders in the organisation in Saudi Arabia to provide arms to execute the plan.
Bahrain, which has strongly backed the Gulf coalition boycotting Qatar claiming, amongst other things, that Doha supports terrorists organisations, has denied the allegations made in the documentary.