* Four policemen with extensive burns - police source
* Interior Ministry says blast "act of terrorism"
* Bahrain due to host F1 grand prix on April 22
* Hunger striker being fed intravenously in military
(Adds details about condition of the wounded, background)
DUBAI, April 9 Seven Bahraini policemen were
wounded, three of them seriously, when a home-made bomb exploded
on Monday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said, during a protest
near the capital calling for the release of an activist on a
two-month hunger strike.
Protesters threw petrol bombs at riot police to lure
officers into Eker, a Shi'ite village outside the capital
Manama, before the rare explosion was set off, the spokesman
"We consider this an act of terrorism," the spokesman said
of the explosion, an escalation in violence which could cast
further doubt on the staging of the Formula One grand prix this
month in the kingdom that hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.
A police source later said two of the wounded were moved to
Bahrain's largest hospital, the Salmaniya, with extensive burns
but that two others were in such serious condition that they
could not be transported there immediately.
On Sunday, Bahrain ruled out extraditing the jailed Bahraini
political activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, also a Danish citizen,
despite a request from Denmark to hand him over because his
health was worsening after a hunger strike.
Daily protests to demand his freedom have been taking place
across the small Gulf Arab island state, which crushed protests
mostly by majority Shi'ite Muslims against the Sunni royal
family last year with the help of troops from Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates.
Western rights groups say Khawaja and 13 other opposition
figures in prison for their role in last year's protests are
prisoners of conscience and should be freed.
Khawaja's lawyer said on Friday that the activist had been
moved to a military hospital and was being fed intravenously.
F1 GRAND PRIX TARGETED
Protesters have also demonstrated against plans to host the
Formula One grand prix. Last year's race in Bahrain was
postponed, reinstated and then cancelled due to the uprising and
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA),
commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Bahrain organisers have
all said the April 22 race is on.
But motor racing teams headed to China on Monday for a race
on April 15 were still unsure whether their return trip would
take in Bahrain for the following meeting, due to safety fears.
Team sources told Reuters some had hedged their bets by
routing personnel on return flights via Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Oman
with alternative reservations for the last leg of the journey
back from Shanghai.
As riot police wage almost daily pitched battles with masked
petrol-bomb throwing protesters, analysts say the mainstream
opposition may be losing touch with the youth who seek more
An underground group calling themselves the Feb. 14 Youth
Coalition - after the date when the uprising began last year -
claims to speak in the name of disaffected Shi'ite youth,
announcing protests and referring to "holy petrol bombs" and
Bahrain says it is making progress implementing
recommendations of an inquiry it commissioned last year into the
unrest, the country's worst since sectarian-tinged political
turmoil in the 1990s.
The inquiry found that some of the more than 2,000 people
detained in the aftermath of the protests died under torture.
Bahrain denies charges of sectarian discrimination that
protesters have levelled at its ruling family, and has called
the demonstrations a destablisation attempt by Shi'ite Iran.
Iran denies any interference in Bahrain's affairs.
(Writing by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)