BERLIN - The Bulgarian interior minister’s investigative result implicating
Hezbollah operatives in the July bombing of an Israeli tour bus prompted the
Islamic Republic on Saturday to recall its ambassador to Sofia, according to Bulgarian media.
Bulgarian media reported Iran’s ambassador Gholamreza Bageri will leave
Bulgaria’s capital - Sofia - and the Iranian government will downgrade its
diplomatic relations with Bulgaria.
The diplomatic fissure was first
reported by the online edition of 24 Chasa daily, according to the English
language Bulgarian wire service Sofia News Agency.
stated at a Friday press conference that the Burgas attack has "nothing to do
Bulgaria's interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, accused two
members of the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah of carrying out a bomb attack in
the seaside resort of Burgas, which resulted in the killing of five Israeli
tourists and a Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. The explosion caused injuries to
over 30 Israeli tourists.
The Bulgarian press reported that Bageri
commented that Bulgarian-Iranians relations have been friendly prior to the
Burgas attack. US and Israeli intelligence officials said in July that the
terror act was a joint Hezbollah-Iran operation.
Lebanon’s prime minister
Najib Mikati said he would he assist the Bulgarians in their investigation. Two
of the suspects lived in Lebanon and it is unclear if arrest warrants were
issued and if the two operatives are still in Lebanon. The Jerusalem Post
learned that Bulgaria has attempted multiple times over the years to compel the
Lebanese authorities to extradite criminal suspects but Lebanese authorities