Report: Bulgaria Expected to Blame Hezbollah, Iran for Burgas Bombing

Israel, United States hope blaming Hezbollah would help efforts to push the EU to designate the Lebanese militant group as a terrorist organization.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The Bulgarian government is expected to blame Hezbollah and its ally Iran for the terrorist attack last July that killed five Israeli tourists. The investigative report on the bombing in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas is likely to be released on Tuesday.

Citing U.S. and Middle East officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Bulgaria is expected to announce that Hezbollah carried out the attack and that Tehran was involved in the operation.

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov was scheduled to brief the cabinet on the conclusion of the investigation on Tuesday. Two weeks ago, Tzvetanov held a preliminary briefing on the bombing in Brussels to his 27 European Union counterparts. A few days earlier, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov arrived in Israel and informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the investigation's findings.

In recent days, information from the unpublished report began leaking to the Bulgarian media. The weekly Sega reported that the terrorist cell was assembled of Arabs with dual citizenship.

It did not say from which Arab country the attackers originated, but reported that one of them – the accomplice of the terrorist that carried out the attack – used an Australian passport. Bulgaria, it said, issued an arrest warrant against the man and asked Australian security services for assistance, but they responded that the suspect was not on Australian territory.

Two other suspects involved in the bombing reportedly use Canadian passports.

In addition to the investigation report, Israel and the United States are also waiting for Bulgaria's official statement later on Tuesday in hopes it would hold Hezbollah and Iran responsible for the attack. The two countries fear that while the investigation's finding would be clear, Bulgaria's public statement would be ambiguous and would not name Hezbollah responsible.

The White House, as well as Israel, are expected to issue an official statement immediately after the investigation report is made public.

Since the July 18 bombing, Israel and the U.S. are pressing European Union states to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. While Britain and the Netherlands support the move, other countries, such as France, oppose it. France, who is leading the resisting efforts, fears that holding Hezbollah responsible for the bombing would destabilize Lebanon, as the militant organization is one of the factions forming its government.

The bombing in Burgas, July 19, 2012, to which Hezbollah has been linked.Credit: Reuters
An Israeli tourist is helped as she arrives to Burgus hospital after a bus carrying Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgus exploded Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev walks near the site of an explosion at Bulgaria's Burgas airport July 18, 2012.
A man and a woman react after an explosion at Bulgaria's Burgas airport July 18, 2012.
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An Israeli tourist is helped as she arrives to Burgus hospital after a bus carrying Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgus exploded Wednesday, July 18, 2012.Credit: AP
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Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev walks near the site of an explosion at Bulgaria's Burgas airport July 18, 2012. Credit: Reuters
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A man and a woman react after an explosion at Bulgaria's Burgas airport July 18, 2012.Credit: Reuters
Terror attack on Israelis in Bulgaria

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