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Bulgaria says Hezbollah behind bombing targeting Israelis

Published: Updated:

The Bulgarian government said Tuesday that the Lebanese militia movement Hezbollah was behind a bomb attack in July that killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian.

“We have information on financing and membership of Hezbollah for two people including the bomber,” Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters.

The conclusions of the Bulgarian investigation may open the way for the European Union to join the United States in branding the Iranian-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization since there is now a clear connection to an attack on EU territory.

Three people were involved in the attack, two of whom had genuine passports from Australia and Canada, Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters after Bulgaria's national security council discussed the investigation.

“We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” Tsvetanov said. “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.”

Israel blamed the attack in the Black Sea city - which killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian driver and the bomber - on Iran and Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite Islamist militia that is part of the Lebanese government.

Tehran has denied responsibility and accused Israel of plotting and carrying out the blast. Hezbollah has not publicly responded to charges by Israel and U.S. agencies that it played a role.

The Netherlands said in August that the EU should follow the lead of the United States, which designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation in the 1990s, a move that would enable the EU to freeze Hezbollah's assets in Europe.


Meanwhile, on Tuesday Israeli President Shimon Peres warned of danger coming from Hezbollah’s ally, Iran.

Peres said that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran was growing under the “terrifying dictatorship” ruling the Islamic republic.

“The Iranian danger has grown,” Peres said at the opening of the newly-elected Israeli parliament. “It threatens our existence, the independence of the Arab states, the peace of the whole world.

“At its head stands a group of ayatollahs in their religious robes, a terrifying dictatorship, staining Persian history and a nightmare for its people,” he said.

Much of the international community fears that Iran’s nuclear program includes efforts to develop nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran denies.