Bulgaria Interior Minister: No Proof Yet Terrorist Sent by Hezbollah

Denies media reports of terrorist's identity, says DNA samples yet to reveal truth; Bulgarian police ups security.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Three days following the Burgas attack, and it seems that at the local airport things are back to normal. As a result of the bombing Wednesday, Bulgarian police increased its presence, checking every vehicle entering the airport and limiting access to certain parts of the terminal.

The numerous Israelis in Burgas, mostly youths on holiday ahead of their army draft, seem to have returned to routine. If at first they were dealing with the implications of the suicide bombing, today Israeli tourists were preoccupied by the broken promises given to them by their travel agents.

Bulgarian authorities are focusing now on investigating the bombing and assisting international investigators who are probing the incident. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is in charge of the investigation, spends his time denying rumors spreading in the international media.

"In the last 48 hours we have gathered a lot of information that could bring progress to the investigation," Tsvetanov told reporters on Friday. "Experts are gathering the information and we are sharing it with all relevent parties," noting also the strong cooperation between Bulgaria and Israel.

Tsvetanov said the identity of the terrorist is still unclear, despite media reports that have made claims regarding the suicide bomber's name. "[The terrorist] was not in Guantanamo and there is no proof that he was sent by Hezbollah," Tsvetanov said, adding that caution should be taken when dealing with any information not approved by Bulgaria's Interior Ministry.

"It is important for us to understand from whence he entered Bulgaria and for how long he was in the state prior to the attack. We know he was in Bulgaria for at least four days. We also don't know as yet whether he had accomplices or whether he acted alone."

DNA samples taken from the terrorist's body were sent to U.S. intelligence agencies, but, as yet, no match has been found with any former Guantanamo detainees. Information was also sent to Interpol and was distributed to police forces around the world. Until now, no states have been able to identify the terrorist.

In addition to DNA samples of the terrorist, samples of the explosives used in the attack were taken in an attempt to link it with previous attacks. Finding a match may point to the people responsible for the attack. The terrorist was carrying about 3 kilograms of explosives.

On Friday, Bulgarian television reported that a man aiding the terrorist might still be in Burgas, while also presenting a facial composite of the suspect. However, there was no trace of the report in the morning newspapers.

"We have received no information regarding this matter. If there really is a terrorist wandering around here we must know," Rabbi Haim Tavardovitch of the local Beit Chabad said. Some 200 Israelis arrived at the house, where Shabbat dinner is offered at no charge. The place was guarded by a few local policemen.

The damaged bus following the suicide attack on Israeli tourists at Burgas airport, Bulgaria, July 19, 2012.Credit: AP



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