Daily Israel Report

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Certain Hizbullah was Behind Attack

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov: We know the real name of the Burgas terrorists.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 2/15/2013, 11:20 PM

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov
Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov
Reuters

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov reiterated on Friday his belief that two of the attackers in the July 2012 bombing in Burgas are part of the Hizbullah terror group, the Sofia News Agency reports.

"The Burgas bombers were maintaining part of Hizbullah’s structures in Canada and Australia and had contacts with other representatives of this organization," Tsvetanov said in an interview with the local TV7 network.

The Bulgarian Interior Minister first announced he had "grounded reasons to believe" that "Hizbullah’s military wing" is involved in the Burgas bus bombing on February 5, stirring international controversy.

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to give an important speech on Saturday, which is also expected to include a statement on the bombing, the Sofia News Agency reported.

Hizbullah has consistently denied taking part in the bombing but Israel officially blamed the organization for the attack right after it was carried out on July 18, 2012.

Tsvetanov stressed that the revealing of the Hizbullah link has not been done because of outside pressure.

"There was no pressure whatsoever, from the U.S. or elsewhere," he said, according to the Sofia News Agency.

According to Tsvetanov, investigators now know the real names of the attackers and are tracking their movements through Europe.

Two of them are believed to be dual Canadian-Lebanese and Australian-Lebanese citizens.

"Our hypothesis is that the two were fellow engineering students in Lebanon where they were preparing the terror attack," said Tsvetanov.

He added that they entered the EU using their real names, but moved in Bulgaria using fake IDs.

Bulgaria's announcement last week that Hizbullah was being the attack in Burgas, in which five Israelis were murdered, led to renewed calls from Washington and Israel on the 27-nation European Union to designate the group a "terrorist" organization.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry 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.

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

Shortly after the Burgas bombing, the EU decided not to list Hizbullah as a terrorist group.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis said at the time that "there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm."

She added that the matter is open for reconsideration if "tangible evidence" that Hizbullah is involved in terrorist activity can be brought.

Polish MEP Michal Tomasz Kaminski on Thursday called on EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to step up Europe’s efforts to designate Hizbullah a terrorist organization.

Kaminski asked in a letter to Ashton why the EU remains “reluctant to call Hizbulllah by its proper name”, after Ashton’s official response to the Burgas findings expressed “the need for a reflection over the outcome of the investigation.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, hit out at the EU on Tuesday for its failure to add Hizbullah to its list of terror organizations.

Speaking at a discussion of the UN Security Council, Prosor sarcastically referred to the fact that Hizbullah is defined by the EU as a charity organization and said, “Defining Hizbullah as a charitable organization is like defining Al-Qaeda as a committee for the preservation of structures, because of its efforts to flatten skyscrapers.”

“The Burgas terrorist attack demonstrated once again that the organization's activities are not limited to the Middle East and that its fingerprints can be found on five continents - from Kenya to Argentina, Thailand, India, Europe and the United States. The thesis that Hizbullah has a military arm and a political arm which operate independently of one another - has collapsed,” he said.

(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.)