Investigator Removed from Bulgaria Bombing Probe

Bulgarian officials removed an investigator from a probe into an attack that killed five Israelis, after she revealed sensitive information

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Burgas bombing
Burgas bombing
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Bulgarian officials have removed a senior investigator from a probe into a tourist bus bomb attack that killed five Israelis, after she revealed sensitive information to the media.

The state-run news agency BTA reported Monday that Stanelia Karadzhova, head of the regional investigation unit in Burgas, the location where last July's attack took place, had been taken off the case because "she spoke to the media without clearing her statement with the supervising prosecutor."

Karadzhova told Bulgaria’s 24 Chasa daily newspaper in a January 3 interview that one of three suspected terrorists who carried out the attack has been identified and that all the suspects were foreign nationals. Karadzhova was quoted as saying the evidence suggests the bombing was not a suicide attack.

"The investigation has evidence implicating three people," she told the paper. "The identity of one of them has already been established. He is currently being searched for."

While Bulgaria's interior ministry has not officially refuted the information, the ministry's chief of staff Kalin Georgiev warned that any comments on the investigation at this stage were "dangerous", AFP reported.

Almost six months after the July 18 attack, Bulgaria is struggling to identify the actual bomber, despite having his DNA, fingerprints and a computer-generated portrait.

Israel has blamed Iran and its "terrorist proxy" Hizbullah for the bombing.

Iran has denied any involvement.