Bulgaria bomb 'work of Hizbullah'

Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev speaks during a joint news conference with prime minister Boiko Borisov today. Photograph: Reuters

Bulgaria's president Rosen Plevneliev speaks during a joint news conference with prime minister Boiko Borisov today. Photograph: Reuters

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

Bulgaria said today it had evidence showing that Lebanese militant movement Hizbullah carried 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 Hizbullah as a terrorist organisation.

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 Hizbullah and the two suspects," Mr 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 Shia Islamist militia that is part of the Lebanese government and waged a brief 2006 war with Israel.

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

Hizbullah , designated by the United States as a terrorist organisation in the 1990s, had no immediate reaction to today's announcement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hizbullah and Iran were waging a "global terror campaign" and the Burgas bomb was just one in a series of attacks carried out against civilians in Thailand, Kenya, Turkey, India, Azerbaijan, Cyprus and Georgia.

"The attack in Burgas was an attack on European soil against a member of the European Union. We hope the Europeans will draw the necessary conclusions about the true character of Hizbullah ," Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

Reuters