October 23, 2013

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bahrain who authorities said died while carrying explosives descended into chaos Wednesday as mourners clashed with police in the troubled Gulf kingdom.

Plumes of tear gas rose over the cemetery where mourners buried Ali al-Sabagh, who authorities said died Tuesday night after an explosion about 10 kilometers (six miles) west of the capital, Manama. Hundreds of anti-government protesters and mourners faced off with police, as an Associated Press reporter saw some set fire to tires in the street and others throw gasoline bombs. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades, as officers closed the main highway into the city because of the fighting.

The official Bahrain News Agency said Wednesday that officers found a gun and ammunition near al-Sabagh’s body. Authorities said he was wanted in connection with previous attacks. Bahrain, a Sunni-ruled nation, has been locked in nonstop unrest since an uprising by the country’s Shiite majority began in early 2011. Bahrain has expanded crackdowns on so-called “terrorist” cells suspected of bombings targeting security forces and others in the strategic kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

As the protests raged, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa addressed the new session of parliament, saying he appreciated its “stance against terrorism, extremism and their instigators, as well as your refusal of any foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Bahrain.”

“Reform, development and achieving a better life for everyone in this country should remain our constant and paramount goal,” he said. “Never losing sight of it, no matter the circumstances.”