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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More