Daily Israel Report

Iran Once Again Denies Any Involvement in Burgas Attack

Iran once again denies that it was involved in a terror attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis last July.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 2/8/2013, 8:42 PM

Пострадавший при теракте в Бургасе (архив)
Пострадавший при теракте в Бургасе (архив)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Iran once again denied on Friday that it was involved in a terror attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis last July, AFP reported.

Iran's ambassador to Bulgaria reiterated on Friday that Tehran was in no way involved in the terror attack in Burgas, several days after Sofia officially blamed Hizbullah for the attack.

"The Burgas attack has nothing to do with Iran," the ambassador, Gholamreza Bagheri, told reporters, adding that his country "condemned terrorism in all its forms."

Earlier this week the Bulgarian government said that two Australian and Canadian passport-holders with links to the Hizbullah terror group were behind the deadly blast at Burgas airport.

The explosion on the bus carrying Israeli tourists also killed the vehicle's Muslim Bulgarian driver as well as the still-unidentified bomber.

Immediately after the attack, the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004, Israel blamed Iran and its "terrorist proxy" Hizbullah.

Iran has always denied involvement. In fact, shortly after the attack, Iran's UN envoy accused Israel of carrying it out itself.

The envoy said at the time that such a terror attack “could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed implicating others for narrow political gains. I could provide ... many examples showing that this regime killed its own citizens and innocent Jewish people during the last couple of decades.”

Hizbullah, whose political arm is the most powerful faction in the current Lebanese cabinet, this week hit out at Israel for waging "an international campaign" against it.

Bulgaria's announcement led to renewed calls from Washington and Israel on the 27-nation European Union to designate the Lebanese Shiite movement a "terrorist" organization.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday urged the EU to follow Washington's lead by designating Hizbullah as terrorists in a move that will notably lead to a crackdown on its fund-raising activities.

Hizbullah has been on a U.S. terror blacklist since 1995 after a series of anti-American attacks, including the bombing of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s.

However, diplomats have indicated that it is unlikely that Europe will name Hizbullah a terrorist organization because of its political strength in Lebanon.

Britain and other EU members are in favor of the move but with key countries like France and Italy reluctant, there is little prospect of achieving the consensus required.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)