Bulgaria says Hizballah behind Burgas bus bombing
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||5 February 2013|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Bulgaria says Hizballah behind Burgas bus bombing, 5 February 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/512235bcc.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
February 05, 2013
The coffins of five Israelis who were killed during the terror attack on a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, resting at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on July 20.
Bulgaria's interior minister has accused Lebanon's militant group Hizballah of being responsible for the bombing of a bus last July that killed five Israeli citizens and a bus driver.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters that three people were involved in the attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort city of Burgas, one of whom had an authentic Canadian passport while another had an authentic Australian passport.
"We have traced out the entire activity [of the two suspects] on the territory of Australia and Canada and we have information that the financing [of the attack] leads to Hizballah and that there is a connection [between Hizballah and the suspects]," he said.
Tsvetanov added that there was strong evidence of financial links between the two suspects and Hizballah.
"What can be established as a well-grounded assumption – I want to repeat: a well-grounded assumption – is that the two persons whose real identity has been determined belonged to the military wing of Hizballah."
Following Bulgaria's accusations, Israel and the United States urged the European Union to act against Hizballah, which is seen as a close ally of the Shi'ite clerical regime in Tehran.
On February 5, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Bulgarian findings should push the EU to draw the "necessary conclusions" about Hizballah's activities.
Washington also called on Europe to take proactive actions to disrupt Hizballah. White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Bulgaria's investigation exposed Hizballah's true character as a terrorist group "that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men, women, and children."
Israel and U.S. have declared Hizballah a terrorist organization but the EU has not yet done so.
Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his government is ready to cooperate with the Bulgarian investigations.
Iran has denied the Israeli accusations that Tehran and Hizballah were behind the Burgas attack.
Hizballah has never commented on the charges.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP