Arabic paper: Bulgarians blame Hezbollah for Burgas

Pan-Arab paper 'Al-Hayat' reports Bulgaria’s interior minister told EU leaders Hezbollah had played a role in Burgas suicide bombing.

Hezbollah militants chant 260 (photo credit: REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
Hezbollah militants chant 260
(photo credit: REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
BERLIN – Bulgaria’s interior minister told European Union leaders last week that Hezbollah had played a role in the July suicide bombing of an Israeli tour bus, according to a report Tuesday in pan-Arab paper Al-Hayat.
The bombing in the Bulgarian seaside resort of Burgas resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.
The London-based paper cited an unnamed “European source” who stated that Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov had briefed fellow European interior ministers at a confidential Thursday meeting.
According to the report, the European source said Tsvetanov had laid out evidence implicating Hezbollah in the terror attack.
However, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, who visited Israel last week, denied that his country’s authorities had concluded their investigation.
Speaking on Monday on Bulgaria’s national channel BNT, he denied a Channel 2 report that his country had presented evidence to Israel showing a link between Hezbollah and the Burgas killings.
“The reactions in the media were probably because of the political tension in Israel now before their elections, and also because everybody in Bulgaria, Europe and Israel impatiently expect the results from the investigation of the Burgas attack,” he said.
Asked if Hezbollah had been behind the Burgas suicide bombing, Mladenov said, “No, I have not made any statements for the media, neither before nor during my trip to Israel. When the Bulgarian investigators, who are working very hard on the case, complete their work, the truth will have to be announced no matter what it is.”
One way or another, he added, “the results will be announced in Bulgaria first. It’s important that the results are announced here, not abroad in Brussels, the US or Israel.”
According to Al-Hayat’s European source, Germany and France are against including Hezbollah in the EU terror list because outlawing the Lebanese organization would create a more volatile Lebanon.
The number of Hezbollah members in Germany has grown from 900 in 2010 to 950 in 2012. With the exception of The Netherlands, the Lebanese group is a legal organization within the EU, and raises funds in Europe.
Al-Hayat reported that the Bulgarian authorities were slated to hold a press conference next week to discuss the Burgas investigation. According to the Sofia News Agency, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said the terror attack “will be in the focus of the upcoming sitting of Bulgaria’s Consultative Council on National Security on February 5.”
English-language Lebanese paper The Daily Star reported on its website Tuesday that “the Lebanese resistance group has not denied or confirmed any role in the bombing.”