Bugras Bus Bomb (370).
(photo credit: Stoyan Nenov/ Reuters)
A previously unknown terrorist group claimed responsibility Saturday for the terror attack
against an Israeli tour bus in Burgas last week while Bulgarian
security authorities were reportedly searching for additional suspects
involved in the bombing.
Five Israelis and a Bulgarian driver
were killed in the attack and dozens more were injured. Israel and the
United States have accused Hezbollah of perpetrating the attack but on
Saturday a group called “Base of Jihad” claimed responsibility for the
Bulgarian police have published pictures of the suspected
bomber who was carrying forged US identification and has yet to be
“With Allah’s help and after close surveillance one
of us succeeded in blowing up a Jewish bus in Bulgaria,” the group said
in a statement that appeared on a Lebanese news site. The
previously-unknown group could be connected to global jihad or being
used as a cover by Hezbollah.
Bulgaria's Focus News Agency quoted a spokesperson of the country's foreign ministry as denying that the group carried out the attack.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
said last week that Israel had solid evidence that Hezbollah, in "close
cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards", was responsible for
Meanwhile Saturday, the investigation into the
bombing continued with Bulgarian, Israeli and American cooperation.
Interpol is also said to be playing an active role in the probe. CNN
reported Saturday that eyewitnesses identified a second suspect who
might have assisted the bomber and described him as having short hair
and speaking English with a “distinct” accent.
This would be a
different man than the one shown in the photos and video released by
Bulgarian authorities. That man has long hair. According to the report,
the second suspect might be American. On Friday, Bulgarian Police began
distributing a sketch of the alleged accomplice in hopes that the public
could help them in the investigation.
said on Friday that they had managed to obtain DNA samples from the
fingers of the bomber and were checking databases in an attempt to
identify him. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told parliament he
hoped that would be done in 3-4 days.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
said on Friday that Israel was certain that the attack was carried out
by Hezbollah. Defense officials said that it was possible that the cell
behind the attack crossed into Bulgaria from Turkey or even consisted of
local Muslims who were recruited into the Lebanese-based organization.
is clear that Hezbollah is behind the attack as part of the series of
events that we have seen over the past few weeks and months,” Barak
said. “At the same time we do not know who the bomber is but we can tell
that he looks European.”
Barak also rejected claims that the
attack represented an intelligence failure for Israel. "There is no
country whose intelligence gathering capabilities have a wider range
than Israel's...I don't think we have anything to apologize for," the
defense minister said.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to the report.