Bulgaria blames Hezbollah in bomb attack on Israeli tourists

Tue Feb 5, 2013 4:01pm EST
 

By Tsvetelia Tsolova

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria accused Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah on Tuesday of carrying out a bomb attack on a bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists last year.

The conclusions of the Bulgarian investigation, citing a clear connection to an attack on European Union soil, might open the way for the EU to join the United States in branding the Iranian-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Three people were involved in the attack, two of whom had genuine passports from Australia and Canada, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters after Sofia's national security council discussed the investigation.

"There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects," Tsvetanov said.

"What can be established as a well-grounded assumption is that the two persons whose real identity has been determined belonged to the military wing of Hezbollah."

Israel blamed the attack in Burgas, which killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian driver and the bomber, on Iran and Hezbollah, a powerful Shi'ite Islamist militia that is part of the Lebanese government and waged a brief war with Israel in 2006.

Iran has denied responsibility and accused arch-enemy Israel of plotting and carrying out the bus bombing last July.

Hezbollah, designated by the United States as a terrorist organization in the 1990s, had no immediate reaction to Tuesday's announcement.   Continued...

 
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (R) and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov in Sofia February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov