POLICE called out to diffuse what looked like a bomb placed in the middle of a busy Manama highway yesterday discovered it was an elaborate decoy, according to an Interior Ministry official. Saboteurs torched tyres across three northbound lanes of Al Fateh Highway, near the entrance to Juffair, and placed what appeared to be an explosive device in the middle of the road - causing major traffic queues in the area at around 8.30am.
The GDN reported yesterday that violent elements within the opposition were setting booby traps for police using homemade bombs, by filling containers with explosive chemicals, nails, glass and other objects and detonating them remotely.
However, an Interior Ministry official said the device found yesterday morning just metres from the Chinese Embassy was a hoax.
But emergency services were not taking any chances and sealed off roads around the object, which disrupted traffic heading from Mina Salman to the Diplomatic Area, as well as main roads in nearby Adliya, Hoora and Mina Salman.
The device consisted of a large box of Rainbow milk powder connected by three wires to what looked like a motorbike battery.
Police and fire crews were initially dispatched to deal with the burning tyres, but called in bomb disposal experts when they saw the device.
A remote-controlled robot was then used to examine and remove the object.
"It resembled a crude homemade explosive device, but it was found to be a decoy," sources told the GDN.
Traffic returned to normal in the area at around 10am.
A Juffair resident was stuck in traffic on Juffair Avenue for more than an hour.
"I saw a lot of smoke, heard a lot of sirens and then someone said a bomb had gone off," he said.
Several policemen have been injured in a spate of bomb attacks using homemade explosive devices in the past month, with incidents reported in Eker, Duraz, Sitra and Bani Jamra.
In the East Eker incident on April 9, chemicals were mixed in a wired petrol tank and placed among debris. Seven policemen were injured in the blast. In a similar attack near the Sitra Police Station on April 15, two policemen were injured when a car battery was used to blow up a replica of the former GCC (Pearl) Roundabout.
Three policemen were injured in a crude bomb attack in Duraz on April 24, while four were injured in an attack in Bani Jamra last Saturday.