DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Hackers allied with 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 images posted bore the logo of the Mokhtar Brigade, a Shiite militant group that has claimed several bombings and attacks on security forces.
Among the videos and images were 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.
"We are going to paint the floor with your blood," one photo caption read.
Bahrain's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday afternoon acknowledging Al Khalifa's Twitter account had been taken over by "terrorists." It said it would work with Twitter to regain control of the account.
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 in the country, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base.
Al Khalifa's Twitter account posed a tempting target for militants as he has posted provocative comments in the past supporting the crackdown.
It is the latest hack to cause chaos in the greater Gulf. In late May, Qatar said hackers took control of the website of its state-run news agency to publish what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran, roiling relations with its neighbors. Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera remains blocked in several countries over the row.