Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov is scheduled to release a
much-anticipated report in Sofia on Tuesday regarding who his country believes
is responsible for the July 18, 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas that killed five
Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.
Details of the investigation
were shared with Israeli officials last month when Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Nikolai Mladenov paid a one-day surprise visit to Jerusalem, during which he met
with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
diplomatic official, who refused to comment on the report before it was
released, said that as a result of Mladenov’s visit, Israel “would not be
surprised” by the findings.
He said Israel would be paying close
attention not only to what the Bulgarians said in the report, but also to what
the rest of the EU would do with the findings.
Israel linked Hezbollah
and Iran to the attack immediately following the bombing, with Netanyahu saying
at the time, “I know, based on absolutely rock solid intelligence, this is
Hezbollah, and this is something Iran knows about very, very well.”
said that Jerusalem knew without “a shred of doubt” that the attack was carried
out “with the encouragement, at the behest and coordination of Iran.”
Bulgaria does point an accusatory finger at Hezbollah in the report, it is
likely to increase pressure on the EU to add the organization to its list of
outlawed terrorist organizations. Doing so would render illegal any financial
transfer from the EU to Hezbollah or any member of that
Israeli officials, however, were skeptical of this
eventuality, saying a consensus of all 27 EU countries was necessary to place
Hezbollah on the EU’s blacklist, and France would likely block such a move
because of concern about losing historic influence and diplomatic leverage in
Last July, shortly after the bombing and strong Israeli pressure
for the EU to blacklist Hezbollah, Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country at the time held the EU’s rotating presidency, said,
“The Lebanese Hezbollah is an organization that comprises a political party [and
a] social services network, as well as an armed wing. Hezbollah is active in
Lebanese politics, including the parliament and the government, and plays a
specific role with regard to the status quo in Lebanon.”
Taking this and
other aspects into account, she said, there is “no consensus among the EU member
states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list of the organization. Should
there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the EU
would consider listing the organization.”
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