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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.