Bulgaria blames Hezbollah for Burgas airport attack

Two men with links to the terrorist organization Hezbollah were implicated in a terrorist attack last July in Bulgaria that killed six people, including five Israelis, a Bulgarian official said.

Hezbollah also financed the bombing, in Burgas, of the tour bus full of Israelis, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters Feb. 5 after a six-hour Cabinet meeting.

The people directly behind the airport attack were part of a Hezbollah cell that included two operatives using passports from Australia and Canada.

Reporting the results of the six-month inquiry in Sofia, Tsvetanov said: “We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” adding: “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.”

Until now, Bulgarian officials avoided public comment about who was behind the attack. Before Tsvetanov’s news conference, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev would not confirm or deny reports that Bulgaria would blame Hezbollah and Iran for the terrorist attack.

Israel has blamed both Hezbollah and Iran for the attack, which also killed the Israeli tourists’ Bulgarian bus driver. Iran has denied responsibility and accused Israel of staging the attack.

“There should be no more equivocation, Hezbollah should be added to the E.U.’s official group of terrorist organizations without delay or reservation,” Moshe Kantor, president of European Jewish Congress, said in a statement after the Bulgarian announcement.

The U.S. Congress in recent weeks has called on European bodies to join the United States, Israel, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

British and Dutch officials pressed last year for concerted E.U. action against Hezbollah, a major player in the Lebanese government, but other nations, including France, have resisted efforts to blacklist the group in an apparent effort to maintain good relations with Beirut. The U.K. has classified only Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group. — jta