, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan 1 – Armed men on Sunday attacked a prison in Bahrain where Shiites convicted over anti-government protests are held, killing one policeman and allowing inmates to escape, the interior ministry said.
The security forces launched a manhunt for the attackers and the escaped prisoners, the ministry said on Twitter.
The attack took place at Jaw prison south of the capital Manama, it said, but did not give more details on the number of attackers or escapees.
The tiny but strategic Gulf state has been rocked by unrest since its Sunni authorities crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.
Hundreds of Shiites have been arrested and many have faced trials over their role in the demonstrations.
Police on Sunday set up or reinforced roadblocks near Shiite villages outside the capital, witnesses said.
Despite the crackdown, Shiite protesters have frequently clashed with security forces in these villages.
In June, 17 prisoners broke out of Al-Hadd jail east of Manama, but the authorities recaptured 11 of them the next day.
Bahrain, which is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway, lies across the Gulf from Shiite Iran and is home to the US Fifth Fleet.