Washington Blacklists Suspects in Burgas Attack

State Department announces that three Hezbollah members have been placed on a special terror watch list.

Elad Benari ,

Burnt bus at Burgas airport
Burnt bus at Burgas airport
Reuters

Three members of Hezbollah, two of whom are accused in a deadly 2012 bombing targeting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, were on Tuesday placed on a special American terror watch list, AFP reports.

The State Department named Meliad Farah, Hassan el-Hajj Hassan and Hussein Atris as "specially designated global terrorists."

The terror designation makes it illegal for American citizens to engage in any transactions with the three men, and freezes any property they might possess within the United States.

All three men are Lebanese by birth, but Farah was identified as an Australian national, while Hassan el-Hajj Hassan is Canadian.

Meliad Farah and Hassan el-Hajj Hassan were placed on the list for their alleged role in the July 2012 suicide attack on a bus at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, that killed six people, including five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen.

Hussein Atris, who the State Department said has Swedish nationality, was identified as a member of Hezbollah's overseas terrorism unit.

He was arrested in 2012 in Thailand as a suspect in a plot to carry out a bombing in Bangkok and was sentenced by a Thai court to two years and eight months in prison for possessing illegally possessing explosives, noted AFP.

He was released in September 2014, and is believed, like the other two men, to currently be in Lebanon.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is backed financially and politically by Iran, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

The revelation of Hezbollah's involvement in the Burgas attack contributed to an EU-wide decision 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.

It has also been reported that Hezbollah wired almost $100,000 (75,000 euros) to the two suspects wanted in the attack.



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