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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund says its annual loss grew to nearly $718 million last year, hurt in part by difficulties at the tiny Gulf nation's airline.

The Mumtalakat fund said in an online statement dated Saturday that its consolidated net loss for 2011 was 270.6 million dinars ($717.7 million). That compares with a loss of 234.3 million dinars ($621.3 million) in 2010.

Mumtalakat is the holding company for several state-owned businesses, including national airline Gulf Air. It says the money-losing carrier posted a larger operating loss last year because of "the regional geo-political situation and higher fuel costs" significantly affected its operations.

Bahrain has been rocked by more than 16 months of unrest. The kingdom's Shiite majority is demanding greater political rights through street protests from the Western-backed Sunni monarchy.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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