Four Bahrainis jailed for bomb attack in village

MANAMA (Reuters) - Four Bahrainis were sentenced to life in jail on Thursday for planting a bomb targeting police and civilians in March, the state news agency reported, as sectarian and political tensions continue to trouble the tiny Gulf state.

The BNA news agency did not name the convicted men or state their motive, but a similar bomb attack in the same northern village in August that wounded five security officers was blamed on a "terrorist group".

Pro-democracy protests erupted in 2011, led by majority Shi'ite Muslims demanding an end to the Sunni monarchy's political domination of the state which hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

Bahrain accuses Shi'ite Iran of fuelling the unrest, an accusation Tehran denies, and says it is grappling with terrorists opposed to the government. In July, a homemade bomb killed a policeman in another village in the north.

Two of those convicted on Thursday - for the attempted murder of an Asian worker whose fingers were blown off when trying to move the bomb - confessed to police before the trial, BNA said. The other two were not caught and were sentenced in absentia.

(Reporting by Farishta Saeed; Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by William Maclean and Robin Pomeroy)