MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - Bahrain is the scene of frenzied clashes today between protesters and a Saudi-led military force.
There are reports of at least two deaths: a demonstrator who was shot in the head and a Saudi soldier who officials say was shot by a protester. Doctors say hundreds of demonstrators were injured by clubs and shotgun blasts.
Bahrain's King declared a three-month state of emergency, giving his Military Chief wide authority to battle protesters demanding political reforms and equal rights for Shiites.
Today's fighting marks the first action for the more than 1,000 troops from several gulf nations. Leaders in the region have been urging the King not to give ground, fearing gains by Bahrain's
Shiites could spark protests in their countries and allow Iran to expand its influence on the Arabian Peninsula.
While Iran holds no deep political ties to Bahrain's Shiite groups, it's denounced the foreign intervention as “unacceptable.”
The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain in part to try to counter Iran's military reach.
(COPYRIGHT 2011 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)