Bulgaria Declares Hezbollah Responsible For July 2012 Bus Bombing

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By Maya Shwayder | February 6, 2013 6:12 AM EST

On Tuesday the Bulgarian government announced the results of a six-month probe into the bus bombing last July in the resort town Burgas near the Black Sea that killed five Israeli tourists. The verdict, to no one’s surprise but possibly to the great consternation of some European Union leaders, is that Hezbollah was behind it.

Speaking to reporters in Sofia on Tuesday, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tezvetan Tzvetanov said, “We have established that the two [suspects] were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah. There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.”

He also said the two suspects held Australian and Canadian passports.

Bulgaria has previously resisted following U.S. leads and Israeli insistence that Hezbollah was responsible. Israel has also blamed Iran, who has denied any involvement.

The revelation of Hezbollah as the guilty party could be a wake=up call for some EU leaders : The U.S. has been lobbying the E.U. to classify all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, not just its militant wing, as the U.K. does.

In December 2012, a diplomat at the U.S. State Department hinted that the E.U. might be leaning in this direction, but since then no decisive actions have been taken.

But Dr. Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute said that Bulgaria pointing the finger at Hezbollah, in addition to the nearly-finished trial of a Swedish-Lebanese man in connection with the bombing, "will put this issue back on the front burner."

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