News / Middle East

Bulgaria Links Hezbollah to Israeli Bombing

Bus destroyed in a deadly suicide attack on Israeli vacationers is transported out of Burgas airport, Bulgaria, July 19, 2012.
Bus destroyed in a deadly suicide attack on Israeli vacationers is transported out of Burgas airport, Bulgaria, July 19, 2012.
Al Pessin
— The Bulgarian government says Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing of a tourist bus near a Black Sea port city last year in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed. The accusation implicates a group whose political wing is a major force in Lebanon’s government.

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov made the announcement Tuesday in Sofia. The minister said genetic material led investigators to conclude that two Hezbollah operatives were among the three men responsible for the attack. But investigators found no direct link to Hezbollah’s backers in Iran or to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

On July 12 last year, a bomb exploded on a bus carrying an Israeli youth group at an airport near Burgas. In addition to those killed, 32 Israelis were wounded, most of them children. Another man was also killed, and he was believed to be a suicide bomber.

But on Tuesday, the director of the European Union’s police agency, Rob Wainwright, told The Associated Press that it may have been a sophisticated remotely controlled bomb that destroyed the bus. Wainwright also endorsed the Bulgarian conclusion that the attack originated in Lebanon, but said the specific link to Hezbollah is less certain.

“From what I've seen on the case from very strong links, obvious links to Lebanon, from the modus operandi of the terrorist attack, from other intelligence that we see, I think that's reasonable assumption," Wainwright said. "I also have my suspicion at least that either Hezbollah itself is responsible for this, or it was carried out by people that are closely associated with that group.

Still, the European police official called the Bulgarian findings “significant” because this would be the first successful Hezbollah attack in Europe in nearly 30 years.

The Bulgarian conclusion confirms initial Israeli government charges about the source of the attack. Both Hezbollah and Iran have denied involvement.

The United States and the European Union have praised the Bulgarian investigation and denounced Hezbollah for its alleged role in the attack. A White House statement called on European countries to take action to find Hezbollah operational and financial cells on the continent.

The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said member countries need to seriously assess the investigation’s findings and “discuss the appropriate response.”

The co-founder of mideastnewswire.com, Nicholas Noe, calls that a “very cautious” response that does not come close to designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a move the United States made in the 1990s and has been urging the EU to do. 
 
Noe says there is good reason to be cautious, and the case is “at a very early stage,” even after the eight-month Bulgarian investigation.
 
“This case appears, or at least is being billed by Hezbollah’s opponents – mainly Israel and the U.S. – as being a substantial case.  So this could be a real game changer for in Europe.  The observer of these events needs to be very careful in jumping to conclusions.  There is a war going on.  There is an information war going on, and there is a military war going on. Do I think it’s possible Hezbollah was involved?  Absolutely I think it’s possible.  But nothing is definitive right now," he said. 
 
Nicholas Noe says a European decision to call Hezbollah a terrorist organization would have a significant impact on the group’s ability to operate, and he notes it could also endanger European peacekeeping troops in Southern Lebanon. 
 
The issue is further complicated because Hezbollah’s political wing has a dominant position in Lebanon’s fragile government even though its military wing was blamed for a huge car bombing in Beirut in October that killed the chief of the country’s police intelligence unit.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid