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article imageSoldiers open fire on civilians, ambulances, surround hospital

By Joseph E Lovell     Mar 15, 2011 in World
Manama - Martial law announced as doctors confirm hundreds of injuries. Ambulances have been targeted and seized as government forces and foreign troops attempt to break up protests and vigilante roadblocks.
BBC correspondent Caroline Hawley describes a scene of "mayhem and pandemonium" in Salmaniya Hospital in the capital, Manama.
Bahraini Emir Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa announced a state of emergency, permitting the army to take all measures necessary to return the island state to stability.
Groups of youths have established makeshift barricades across the city in an attempt to protect themselves and their neighbourhoods. Ambulances came under fire as they tried to treat and evacuate casualties. One eye witness told Al Jazeera the hospital had been surrounded by tanks and riot police.
The attacks, in which two men have been confirmed killed and 200 injured, come a day after Bahraini forces were bolstered with the deployment of 1500 Saudi and Emirati troops. The contingent is part of the Peninsula Shield, a pan-Gulf initiative for the protection of member states. Shield troops have never before been used to quell internal trouble, a move opposition figures describe as "occupation," and "a declaration of war."
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al Atiya congratulated the Gulf states' "honourable stances" and repeated opposition to foreign interference.
Iran described the troop deployment as "unacceptable," citing the peaceful expression of demonstrators' "legitimate demands" and summoned the Saudi ambassador in Tehran to protest the move.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the violence, saying all sides "must take steps now to negotiation towards a political resolution."
A doctor at Salmaniya Hospital said he had been caught up in the violence in Sitra, a Shia town 10 miles from Manama. He claimed police and soldiers had stolen six ambulances, removed medics, and used them to attack protesters.
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