'Bulgaria police ID Burgas bombing accomplice'

Authorities seeking man who helped suicide bomber behind deaths of 5 Israeli tourists in July, Bulgarian media reports.

Burgas accomplice  370 (photo credit: Courtesy Bulgaria Foriegn Ministry)
Burgas accomplice 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Bulgaria Foriegn Ministry)
Bulgaria announced on Thursday that it has issued an international arrest warrant for an accomplice to the terrorist who carried out a deadly bomb attack in July on Israeli tourists in the resort city of Burgas.
The bombing killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian tour bus driver, in addition to the attacker.
The development meant that for the first time in the investigation, the real identity of a suspect has surfaced, since until now there had been only falsified documents for the bomber and accomplice, AFP reported.
The bomber’s remains were recovered from the scene in the hours after the attack.
Bulgarian police investigators are keeping details about the accomplice’s identity and origins – both of which they say are known to them – out of the public domain for the time being.
“The investigation has evidence for the implication of three persons,” Stanelia Karadzhova, head of the regional investigation unit in Burgas, told the 24 Hours newspaper in an interview, according to AFP. “The identity of one of them has already been established.”
Karadzhova said the terror suspects had never been seen together and did not travel with cellphones or laptops, leaving open the question of how they remained in touch. Investigators had linked them through their falsified documents and their similar, basic lifestyle, she added.
The chief investigator described their way of life as “very ordered and simple, like in the army, which suggests they had the same type of training.”
According to new evidence, the main attacker did not intend to die in the attack, Karadzhova said. He either detonated the explosives by pressing a button or they were remotely set off by a second party during a chaotic moment, she added.
According to the Bulgarian news agency Novintine, the bomber went under the alias of Jacque Felipe Martin, and one of his accomplices used the name Ralph Willima Rico. Both had fake documents from the US state of Michigan.
The bomb blast tore through the bus soon after Israeli passengers had boarded. It was supposed to ferry them from Burgas Airport to hotels.
Israel said Iran and Hezbollah jointly carried out the attack.
Iran’s Quds force, together with Hezbollah and other proxies and middlemen, are involved in an effort to pull off additional terror attacks, according to security evaluations.
In September, Israel asked security forces around the world to increase protection for Israeli tourists.
“We’ve identified a continuation of the Iranian global campaign to launch terror attacks on Israelis,” a defense source said last year. “The campaign is being led by Iran, with Hezbollah acting as its proxy.” •