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Bulgaria releases image of bomber that hit Israelis

August 1, 2012 15:40

Disclosure of computer-generated photograph accompanied by request for general public to divulge any information to authorities.

Suspect in Bulgaria bombing

Suspect in Bulgaria bombing. (photo credit:Bulgaria Interior Ministry)

The Bulgarian Interior Ministry on Wednesday released an image of the face of the suicide bomber who murdered five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver last month.

The ministry said the image, which had been verified to a level of 95 percent accuracy, was generated using “modern technologies and techniques and based on available data” collected from the face of the dead bomber, which has been restored by police forensic officers.

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Bulgarian authorities released the image in the hope that anyone who can identify the man will come forward to help in the investigation. A joint Bulgarian-Israeli investigation is under way to identify the bomber and any accomplices.

The image shows a man who appears to be white, with combed-back dark hair and full eyebrows.

“The police did not release any earlier photos of the bomber, who was decapitated in the explosion, as they would have shocked the public,” Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said.

The minister dismissed earlier media reports that the tourists were killed by a bomb attached to the tour bus, saying the latest information indicating that the terrorist was holding the explosives in a bulky backpack.

The lanky, long-haired man in a baseball cap, wearing Bermuda shorts and carrying a large backpack, had been in Bulgaria for approximately 20 days before the attack, the minister said.

Bulgarian investigators in July obtained DNA samples from the fingers of the bomber and were checking databases in an effort to identify him.

Israel said Hezbollah and Iran are responsible for the attack. Iran denied the allegation, though its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later hinted that his country was behind it.

“They have indeed succeeded in inflicting blows upon us more than once, but have been rewarded with a far stronger response,” Ahmadinejad said last month.

A few days later, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations claimed Israel was behind the bombing.

Israeli political and military leaders said a response to the terrorist attack would come at a time of Israel’s choosing, suggesting a possible covert strike against those behind the atrocity.

Also on Wednesday, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said in a separate announcement that the country’s border police arrested an Iranian who was being smuggled into the country.

Border police pulled over a vehicle with Italian license plates entering the country, the ministry said, adding that the driver was Iranian.

“The owner of the car, an Italian national, was traveling with him.

While checking, the border police officers found a 21-year-old Iranian national veiled with a blanket between the front and rear seats. The three people were detained in a temporary detention center in the town of Svilengrad.

The car was seized. The case is under further investigation,” the ministry said.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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