Bahrain hackers post threats on foreign minister’s Twitter
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Bahrain hackers post threats on foreign minister’s Twitter

Shiite militants believed behind online warning to royal family threaten to ‘make castles of your skulls’

Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa addresses the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2016. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)
Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa addresses the United Nations General Assembly, September 23, 2016. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Hackers allied to Shiite militants in Bahrain seized control Saturday of the Twitter account of the island’s foreign minister, posting a series of threats to its royal family and promising to “make castles of your skulls.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for taking over the account of Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, though several videos posted bore the logo of the Mokhtar Brigade, a Shiite militant group that has claimed several bombings and attack on security forces.

The hack comes amid a yearlong crackdown on dissent in tiny Bahrain, a Shiite-majority island off the coast of Saudi Arabia that’s ruled by a Sunni royal family. Activists have been arrested or forced into exile while authorities have broken up major opposition political parties. Independent news gathering on the island also remains difficult, as two Associated Press journalists and others have been refused government accreditation.

Al Khalifa’s Twitter account posed a tempting target for militants. The foreign minister has posted a series of provocative comments in the past supporting the crackdown.

Among the videos and images included those of slain protesters in Bahrain, as well as dead civilians in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Bahrain is part of a coalition of Sunni Arab nations in the Gulf supporting that campaign.

Bahrain’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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