ABU DHABI - Bahrain has accused Iran's Revolutionary Guard of setting up a militant cell to assassinate public figures in the Gulf Arab kingdom and attack its airport and government buildings.

Bahraini authorities said on Sunday they had arrested eight Bahrainis in the group, with links to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

The kingdom, base for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in political turmoil since protests erupted there in 2011, led by majority Shi'ite Muslims demanding an end to the Sunni monarchy's political domination and full powers for parliament.

Bahrain has accused Shi'ite Iran of fuelling the unrest, an accusation Tehran has consistently denied.

In a statement published by the official Bahrain News Agency late on Tuesday, Bahrain's head of public security said the cell was part of a group called the "Imam Army" which included Bahrainis at home and abroad and members of other nationalities.

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