Bulgaria names Hezbollah suspects behind bombing of Israeli bus in Burgas

Canadian and Australian citizens named as suspects in terror attack which killed 6; suspects thought to be in Lebanon.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDEN
July 25, 2013 13:44
2 minute read.
Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, who are suspected of involvement in the Burgas bus bombing.

Burgas bombing suspects 370. (photo credit: Bulgaria Interior Ministry)

 
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BERLIN – Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry released on Thursday the names and photographs of two people believed to have carried out the Burgas bus bomb terrorist attack last year that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver.

The powerful explosion at the Black Sea resort town wounded 32 Israelis.

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The two suspects behind the deadly attack were identified as 32-year-old Australian citizen Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, and 25-year-old Canadian citizen Hassan el-Hajj Hassan.

In the days around the attack, the suspects had been noticed in Ruse, Varna and Nesebar, the Sunny Beach resort, and the village of Ravda, according to the ministry statement.

The alleged Hezbollah suspects are believed to be in Lebanon. In addition to their Canadian and Australian citizenships, Hassan and Farah are citizens of Lebanon.

A Bulgarian source familiar with extradition cases between Lebanon and Bulgaria told The Jerusalem Post that the Lebanese authorities have a lousy record in deporting wanted individuals to the Eastern European country.

The Lebanese government has refused to cooperate with a UN tribunal indictment seeking Hezbollah operatives charged with killing former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others in 2005. Hezbollah plays a central role in the Lebanese coalition governments and the country’s parliament.

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The Bulgarian authorities were asking the public for cooperation and suspect that the two men registered at hotels and rented cars in the area near Burgas under false names.

Last July, according to the ministry, ”it was established that Farah rented a Renault Clio in the village of Ravda.”

Farah sports a beard and has dark hair with thick black eyebrows and brown-colored eyes. His alleged accomplice – the 25-year-old Hassan – has a lighter skin complexion and a wears a goatee. His head is nearly shaven bald.

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said last week that his country has received additional evidence implicating Hezbollah in the Burgas bombing.

Fueled by concerns over Hezbollah’s activities in Europe, European Union governments – in a reversal of past policy – agreed Monday to put the Lebanese organization’s armed wing on the EU terrorism blacklist.

The EU wrote it will review its proscription of Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization on a six-monthly basis.

Britain and the Netherlands had pressed EU peers since May to put the group’s military wing on the bloc’s terrorism list, citing evidence it was behind the bus bombing.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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