Bahrain's main opposition party says authorities have demolished 16 mosques as part of crackdown on Shiite dissent in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom over the past month.
Al Wefaq says 30 Shiite places of worship _ including 16 mosques _ have been destroyed since martial law was declared last month.
A statement Saturday said the government has no legal justification for attacks on Shiite holy places and suggests that the destruction is a punishment for weeks of anti-government protest by Bahrain's Shiite majority against minority Sunni rulers.
The demolition is likely to further inflame sectarian tensions in the island kingdom, the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf states sent troops to Bahrain to help the ruling dynasty contain the unrest.