Bahrain opposition group says police search home of country's leading Shiite cleric


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In this photo taken Nov. 21, 2014, Sheik Isa Qassim, Bahrain's top Shiite Muslim cleric, speaks during midday prayers Friday, in the village of Diraz, Bahrain. Bahrain’s leading Shiite opposition group says security forces have raided the home of the country’s most prominent Shiite cleric. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain's leading Shiite opposition group said Tuesday that security forces raided the home of the country's most prominent Shiite cleric in a move that could exacerbate sectarian tensions in the island nation.

Opposition bloc al-Wefaq criticized the search of Sheikh Isa Qassim's house in the mostly Shiite village of Diraz as a "provocative and irrational step."

On its Twitter feed, Bahrain's Interior Ministry said police searched a house in Diraz after receiving residents' permission as part of a search for a bombing suspect. It did not mention the cleric by name.

Later Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said an explosion in Diraz wounded two police officers. It did not say what caused the blast.

Bahrainis voted Saturday in the country's first full parliamentary elections since widespread protests led by the country's Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy swept the nation in 2011. Al-Wefaq and other opposition groups boycotted the vote.

Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

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