Manama (Bahrain): Accusing Iran-based hackers of trying to break into a government website Bahrain authorities on Sunday called for a boycott of Iranian goods in retaliation for alleged interference in the island kingdom's unrest.

The latest political salvos by Bahrain's Sunni rulers are likely to intensify tensions with Shiite power Iran, which has been sharply critical of the kingdom's crackdown on Shiite protesters demanding more freedoms.

Bahrain and other Sunni Arab leaders in the Gulf accuse Iran of meddling in their affairs and seeking gains from the region's unrest, a charge Iran denies.

Iran has denounced Gulf leaders for dispatching a Saudi-led military force to prop up Bahrain's monarchy and try to quell the protests by Shiites, who comprise 70 per cent of
the population but are excluded from key government and security posts.

More than 30 people have died since Feb. 15, when the anti-government protests erupted. Today, relatives said a 6-year-old boy died from respiratory problems triggered by a tear gas attack from security forces a day earlier in the mostly Shiite area of Sitra, one of the hotbeds of the protests. The relatives spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from authorities.

The state-run Bahrain News Agency said Iranian computer hackers tried to access the official website of the Housing Ministry in attempts to seek data on aid recipients. The report gave no other details, but it could be linked to Shiite allegations that a disproportionate share of housing aid goes to Sunnis.


(Agencies)