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Bahrain orders expulsion of Iraqi diplomat

Bahrain has ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat over alleged links to an explosion outside the US Navy 5th Fleet base last month.

world Updated: Apr 02, 2003 16:56 IST
PTI

Bahrain on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat over alleged links to an explosion outside the US Navy 5th Fleet base last month.

Bahrain ordered Iraqi Embassy first secretary Nadhem Jawad Ali to leave the country "because of his relations with Oday Abdel Amir Hassoon," an Iraqi suspected of involvement in the March 24 blast, the official Bahrain News Agency said, quoting a Foreign Ministry official.

Ali's "actions ... contradicted his task within the (Iraqi) mission and the (diplomatic) immunity he enjoys," the official said.

Another Foreign Ministry official said that no date has been set for the diplomat's expulsion, but Bahrain wanted him to leave "as soon as possible."

An Information Ministry official said police detained Hassoon, the Iraqi national, shortly after the blast outside a US military housing compound in the Bahrain area of Juffair. No injuries were caused. Some 4,000 US military personnel are attached to the base.

According to the official, Hassoon was in custody and had confessed to carrying out the blast, which authorities said was caused by a propane gas tank left in a garbage can ignited by anti-war protesters. Hassoon has not been charged. Iraqi charge d'affaires Abdullah al-Jabouri was summoned to receive the expulsion order, the agency report said. Iraqi officials were not immediately available for comment. Bahrain's decision to expel the diplomat follows similar moves by Jordan and Egypt.

Jordan ordered several Iraqi diplomats out March 23 over suspected links to a plot to poison water used by Jordanian and US troops, sources familiar with the investigation said Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad said Egypt had given a senior Iraqi diplomat - Riyad al-Ani - a week to leave Cairo.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday that Cairo had not asked the Iraqi Embassy to send the diplomat home. Egyptian sources and Arab diplomats, however, have said the diplomat was believed to be working for Iraqi intelligence.

An Iraqi Embassy official said that al-Ani will leave Egypt within two days.

It is unclear if the expulsion orders are linked to a US request to about 60 countries to expel 300 Iraqi diplomats said to be undercover agents possibly poised to attack US interests overseas.