Bulgaria to present findings to EU on Burgas probe

Interior minister claims fake documents used by suspects was traced to Beirut, says identity of two or three suspects is known.

February 10, 2013 19:09
2 minute read.
The body of an Israeli killed in Bulgaria attack

The body of an Israeli killed in Bulgaria attack 370. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)


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BERLIN – Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced Sunday that he will meet with his EU counterparts on February 18, to discuss the results of an investigation showing Hezbollah’s involvement in the murders of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver in Burgas last July.

Vessela Tcherneva, a Bulgraian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told The Jerusalem Post via telephone on Sunday that the foreign minister will brief the EU foreign ministers on the “political aspects” of the Burgas investigation, under the “any other business” section of the agenda.

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Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov on Tuesday accused two operatives from Hezbollah’s military wing of participating in the bomb attack on a bus at Burgas Airport, which resulted in the deaths of five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver and injured over 30 Israelis.

One of the three suspected terrorists died in the explosion, which is believed to have been triggered by a remote control device.

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman told the Post on Sunday that ministry official Kalin Georgiev gave an interview on Saturday in which is he said that “the investigation is entering a new stage, to collect direct evidence on the perpetrators of the attack.”

The spokeswoman added that Georgiev said, “The printer, which had printed out the fake documents of the bus bomber and his two accomplices, has been tracked down to Beirut... our services and investigation know the identity of two of three men.”

Moreover, Darik Radio, the largest private radio station in Bulgaria, conducted an interview with the foreign minister in which he suggested that Bulgaria might be moving toward the British position of sanctioning Hezbollah. The UK outlawed the military wing of Hezbollah five years ago due to terrorism.

Asked if Bulgaria will in fact move forward with the terrorism designation, he said, “I don’t see any other option...

but I want to note that we don’t have a legal procedure to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization on our own. We will work towards a common EU decision.”

Mladenov continued: “Now that we have said they [Hezbollah’s military wing] are responsible for the Burgas attack, we cannot have a soft or vague position.`” When questioned by Darik Radio if France and Germany are hesitant to outlaw Hezbollah, he said, “We can’t hide behind politically motivated arguments. They [Hezbollah} came here and perpetrated a terrorist act on our territory. We need to have self respect and speak the truth.”

“Our links lead to the military wing. We are not talking about the party in the Lebanese parliament,” Mladenov stressed.

The Sofia News Agency reported Sunday that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov thanked the US government for its assistance in the investigation.

Borisov and US Secretary of State John Kerry talked on Saturday and Kerry praised the Bulgarian authorities for the “high professionalism” of their investigation.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied media reports that Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Bageri will leave the country and Tehran will downgrade its diplomatic relations with Sofia over the findings that implicated Hezbollah, the Sofia News Agency also reported.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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