Mourning Israelis in Bulgaria call on gov’t to charge Hezbollah for terror

Families travel to Burgas on 7th anniversary of devastating attack.

July 19, 2019 01:15
2 minute read.
AN ISRAELI SURVIVOR of the Hezbollah bombing at Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 19, 2012, is wheeled to a

AN ISRAELI SURVIVOR of the Hezbollah bombing at Burgas, Bulgaria, on July 19, 2012, is wheeled to a waiting ambulance as he leaves the hospital.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hezbollah itself must be charged for terrorism in the Bulgarian trial relating to the 2012 terrorist-murders of five Israelis and their driver, families of the victims demanded at a ceremony in Bulgaria marking seven years since the attack.

In his speech, Kobi Price, one of the family members, noted that, “Three years ago… four years after the attack, the criminal trial opened… In the indictment… only two attackers” were charged.

“We, the mourning families, ask the government of Bulgaria to rise above narrow political considerations and to add the terrorist organization Hezbollah to the indictment without delay,” said Price.

He continued: “Without Hezbollah, there is no morality in the trial. Without Hezbollah, the trial is ineffective. Without Hezbollah, there is no justice for the murdered victims.”

In January 2018, The Jerusalem Post exclusively disclosed that the Bulgarian state prosecution had decided not to charge Hezbollah as an organization with involvement in the 2012 bombing at the Burgas airport, which killed the five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver, while wounding 32 other Israelis.

Instead, the prosecutor indicted the two men allegedly involved in the attack as if they were terrorists – or even regular criminals – who acted without connection to an organization. The word “Hezbollah” does not appear in the indictment.

In addition, the indictment did not mention standard terrorism offenses such as “acting as part of a terrorist organization” or connecting the murder offense to terrorism, referring instead to merely disturbing public order.

Sources close to the case told the Post at the time that when the Bulgarian prosecutor on the case was confronted with these anomalies, he claimed that no one provided him with evidence demonstrating Hezbollah’s involvement.

This directly contradicted evidence that came to light immediately after the attack from then Bulgarian interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, naming Hezbollah as the culprit.

In 2013, Tsvetanov’s successor, Tsvetlin Yovchev, told reporters before a commemoration ceremony, “There are clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing.”

Also in 2013, then-Bulgarian foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both confirmed the solid evidence linking Hezbollah to the Burgas attack.

Bulgaria’s investigation into the Burgas bombing even led to the EU to place Hezbollah’s armed wing on its blacklist.

The ruling party in Bulgaria has changed numerous times since 2012 with some observers saying politics has ham-stringed the trial, which is still ongoing.

Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this story.

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