Bahrain detains 7 opposition figures

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In mostly Shiite southern Iraq, more than 3,000 demonstrators marched in the holy city of Karbala in the second consecutive day of rallies against the outside forces in Bahrain.

Tanks and armored personnel carriers outfitted with machine guns watched over strategic intersections. Soldiers, wearing black ski masks and helmets, manned checkpoints and searched cars. Agents in civilian clothes patrolled wearing green vests and masks.

The remnants of the protesters’ barricades — barrels, plywood and trash bins — were strewn over some streets. Nearly all stores and banks were closed and traffic was light. Very few people were walking the streets in the center of the capital.

An 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew was in force and movement was restricted around the country.

Doctors at the country’s main hospital said the facility was controlled by security forces, blocking physicians from leaving. The Salmaniya hospital complex has become a political hotspot. The mostly Shiite personnel are seen by authorities as possible protest sympathizers. The staff claim they must treat all who need care.

“We are under siege,” said Nihad el-Shirawi, an intensive care doctor who said she had been working for 48 hours. “We cannot leave, and those on-call cannot come in.”

Officials in the hospital said they took in more than 400 people injured in violence Tuesday and Wednesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Britain has urged all its citizens to leave Bahrain unless they have a “pressing reason” to remain. Charter flights were arranged to Dubai.

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Associated Press writers Brian Murphy and Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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