DUBAI - Bahrain's King Hamad said on Wednesday he would not allow any more "insults" of the armed forces in the Gulf state in an apparent warning to leading Shi'ite opposition party Wefaq after criticisms it leveled earlier this week.

The army, led by Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed, took charge of ending protests led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority that erupted last year after uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, enforcing a period of martial law.

It was aided by Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces which Manama called in after accusing Shi'ite neighbor Iran of fomenting the protests that threatened the grip of the ruling Al Khalifa family - Sunni allies of Riyadh and Washington.

"We have heard voices in recent days spreading hatred and abusing freedom of expression to the extent of insulting the Bahrain Defense Forces, and without doubt it is our duty not to allow this to be repeated," the king said in a speech to senior military officers at their headquarters.

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