The Bulgarian government has blamed Lebanons militant Shiite
Hezbollah organization for a deadly suicide bomb attack on a bus in
the town of Burgas last July which left six people dead, five of
The long-awaited results of the Bulgarian investigation into the
bombing will place greater pressure on the European Union to
proscribe Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, a classification
repeatedly called for by the US and Israel but so far rejected by
the EU. European countries are concerned that proscribing Hezbollah
could destabilize Lebanon, which is already reeling from the
repercussions of the war in neighboring Syria, and potentially
jeopardize European interests in the Middle East.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the Bulgarian interior minister, said that two
suspects had been identified and that they had carried Canadian and
We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were
members of the militant wing of Hezbollah, he said after a meeting
of Bulgarias national security council. We expect the government of
Lebanon to assist further in the investigation.
However, the dominant player in the Lebanese government is
Hezbollah, which will limit Lebanons ability to assist in the
Still, Najib Mikati, the Lebanese prime minister, repeated his
condemnation of the Burgas bombing and said that Lebanon would
cooperate with the Bulgarian authorities.
[Lebanon] is keen on Bulgarias security and that of the EU states
and on ensuring that these relationships will be maintained and
developed on all levels, he said in a statement.
There was no immediate reaction to the Bulgarian announcement
from Hezbollah and the groups spokesman was unavailable for comment.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who publicly blamed
Hezbollah and its backer Iran for the bus bombing within hours of
the July 18 attack, repeated his accusations that both were waging a
global campaign of terror and urged the EU to blacklist the Lebanese
The White House also urged the EU to take "proactive action"
against Hezbollah. John Brennan, the Obama administration's top
counter-terrorism official, said the attack exposed Hezbollah as a
"terrorist group that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men,
women and children and that poses a real and growing threat not only
to Europe, but to the rest of the world."
Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, which helps coordinate
national police forces in the EU, told the Associated Press that the
bomb used in the attack was remotely detonated even though one of
the bombers had died in the blast. He said that two counterfeit US
drivers licenses found near the scene were traced back to Lebanon,
where they were made.
The Bulgarian authorities are making quite a strong assumption
that this is the work of Hezbollah, he said. From what Ive seen of
the case from the very strong, obvious links to Lebanon, from the
modus operandi of the terrorist attack and from other intelligence
that we see I think this is a reasonable assumption. …