Bulgaria Identifies Bomber of Israeli Tour Bus
Bulgaria has identified a Lebanese man as the bomber who blew up an airport bus in 2012, killing five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian driver and himself, local media said Sunday.
Israel and Bulgaria have already accused the Lebanese Shia terrorist group Hezbollah of being behind the attack at Burgas airport on the Black Sea, the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004.
Bulgaria had previously identified as alleged accomplices two Lebanese men with links to Hezbollah - and who held Canadian and Australian passports - and has made so-far unanswered extradition requests to Lebanon.
The two were identified as 32-year-old Australian Maliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, and 25-year-old Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan. Hezbollah allegedly wired almost $100,000 (75,000 euros) to the two suspects.
Last month, Prosecutors reportedly claimed to have identified a third suspect in the attack. It is unclear whether today's revelations relate to that previous report or are separate.
The revelation of Hezbollah's involvement in the attack contributed to an EU-wide decision last year to blacklist Hezbollah as a terror group. However, the EU chose to only blacklist Hezbollah’s “military wing”, leaving its political faction off the list.
Chief prosecutor spokeswoman Rumyana Arnaudova declined to comment on the latest report in the Pressa newspaper, which cited sources in the Bulgarian intelligence services.
"The investigation is ongoing and is very intensive but I cannot confirm any details around the probe as this might jeopardize it," Arnaudova told AFP.
The bomber died in the attack - although it remains unclear if he intended to die - and investigators had been unable to identify him despite having DNA from the severed head and limbs found at the site of the bombing.
Chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov returned on Friday from a four-day visit to Israel where he met attorney general Yehuda Weinstein and chief prosecutor Shai Nitzan.