Sofia – Bulgaria: No Doubt Hezbollah Behind Israeli Burgas Bombing


    FILE - Flames burst from a detonating bus during the reenactment of the Burgas bus bombing near the town of Ihtiman, some 50 kilometers from Sofia, Bulgaria, 26 April 2013. Bulgarian authorities reenacted the 18 July 2012 Burgas bus which killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and the terrorist himself. EPASofia – Bulgaria has no doubts that the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah was behind a bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver at the Black Sea city of Burgas exactly a year ago, the interior minister said on Thursday.

    “There are clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing,” Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev told reporters before a commemoration ceremony and opening of a monument to the victims of the attack at the Burgas airport.

    Hezbollah denies any involvement in the attack

    Evidence that Hezbollah was behind the bombing was a main reason why Britain sought the blacklisting of the Shi’ite Muslim’s group military wing by the European Union, a move that has yet to win the support of some governments.

    Several EU capitals had objected, arguing such a move could destabilize Lebanon where Hezbollah is part of the government, and questioning whether there was sufficient evidence linking the group to the attack in the seaside resort of Burgas.

    On Wednesday, EU diplomats said Brussels could blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing while stressing it is open to talking to the movement’s political faction under a proposal by the EU’s foreign policy chief.

    Yovchev said that since the new Socialist government took office at the end of May, Sofia has received more information from foreign services that also points to Hezbollah’s involvement.

    Bulgaria will need more time to conclude its investigation and bring the case to court, he said.

    Speaking at the ceremony in Burgas, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said agencies from the EU countries, the United States, Israel, Australia, Canada and Lebanon were helping the Bulgarian investigation.

    “I think it is important that the EU works for a consensus decision to allow the blacklisting of Hezbollah’s military wing and at the same time, keep the cooperation with all political parties and the financial support for our important partner in the Middle East – Lebanon,” he said.

    Sofia still has to identify the bomber and track two of his accomplices, who authorities said were of Lebanese origin with Canadian and Australian passports and were connected to Hezbollah.

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