BERLIN – Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev announced on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US that Bulgaria “experienced our September 11” last year in Burgas, in which alleged Hezbollah operatives murdered five Israelis and a Bulgarian national.

Speaking at a conference on security for South East Europe, Sofia News Agency reported that Plevneliev said, “We experienced our September 11 – that was the terrorist attack at the Burgas airport in 2012 that claimed innocent human lives.”

He continued, “We saw firsthand the inhuman essence of terrorism and experienced [it] on our own territory. As members of NATO and the EU we are stronger to face this ugly and inhuman act.”

Plevneliev said the investigation into the Burgas bus bombing has entered the final phase. The Bulgarian authorities asserted in February that operatives from Hezbollah’s armed wing carried out the attacks. Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry later named the two suspects behind the deadly attack as 32-year-old Australian citizen Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, and 25-year-old Canadian citizen Hassan el-Hajj Hassan.

The alleged Hezbollah suspects are believed to be in Lebanon. In addition to their Canadian and Australian citizenships, Hassan and Farah are citizens of Lebanon.

The Lebanese authorities have given no indication of moving forward with an extradition of the two suspects.

Lebanon’s government has refused over the years to extradite other criminal and terror suspects to Bulgaria and other European countries.

Bulgaria’s government plans to advance with a judicial process in absentia.

Plevneliev said formal charges will be filed shortly.

Last month, Canada’s National Post reported that Hassan’s father Samir Hajhassan said his last contact with his son was in February.

“Nothing was wrong at all,” the father said.

Samir operates a carpet installation business in Burnaby, British Columbia.

He said the police came and took a DNA sample in connection with the Burgas investigation.

The National Post reported that the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation charged  Ali Amhaz, who was an acquaintance of Samir, with Hezbollah criminal activity.

“I know Ali Amhaz,” Samir told the National Post. “I know the person a long time ago but not now. I’m staying far away from all these kind of people.”

He continued, “We don’t want to be associated because it’s enough what’s happening in the world.”

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