Hezbollah behind Burgas terror attack, US officials tell New York Times (ISRAEL HAYOM) Avi Cohen, Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff 07/20/12)
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As investigation continues to identify suicide bomber behind Bulgaria
attack, U.S. officials tell The New York Times that perpetrator was
Hezbollah operative under orders from Iran • “This was tit for tat,”
in retaliation for assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, U.S.
The suicide bomber responsible for the bloody attack on a bus
carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas on Wednesday was a member of a
Hezbollah cell operating in Bulgaria, U.S. officials have told The
New York Times.
The information corroborates initial Israeli assertions that the
bomber was a Hezbollah terrorist operating under orders from Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated in a speech Thursday
that the attack was perpetrated by "Hezbollah, Iran´s leading
A senior U.S. official said told The New York Times that intelligence
showed that the bomber, who killed six people and wounded more than
30 in the coastal town of Burgas, had been "acting under broad
guidance" to strike Israeli targets abroad, and that this guidance
was given to Hezbollah by Iran.
Two other U.S. officials confirmed that Hezbollah was responsible for
the attack, but refused to provide additional details.
The official said the bombing was in retaliation for the
assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Iran has
blamed Israeli and Western agents - something that Israel has neither
confirmed nor denied. “This was tit for tat,” the U.S. official was
quoted as saying.
“This looks like he was hanging out for a local target, and when this
popped up he jumped on it,” the official said, referring to the bus
carrying the Israeli tourists. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
apparently alluded to the attack in a speech Thursday, "the Zionist
enemy attempts to hit Iran with blow after blow and is hit harder."
A senior source in Jerusalem said on Thursday that last year there
were at least 20 attempts to attack Israeli targets abroad. All the
attempts were linked to two organizations: Hezbollah or the elite Al-
Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The source said
that Tehran instructed the two organizations to harm unprotected
Israeli civilians abroad and that there is clear information proving
the Iranians were involved in the Bulgaria attack.
“They work together when necessary, and separately when not
necessary,” the Israeli official told reporters on condition of
While the attack is in line with the modus operandi of Hezbollah, the
Israeli official said it was unclear whether the attacker intended to
detonate himself or he had suffered a "work accident," The New York
Times quoted him as saying.
The Bulgarians are still trying to figure out how the bomber entered
the country, how he traveled around and where he stayed. There were
conflicting reports on Thursday of the bomber´s identity. Bulgarian
media initially identified the terrorist as Mehdi Mohammed Ghezali, a
Swedish citizen of Algerian decent, and a member of the Global Jihad
who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay. Ghezali, 33, was born in
Stockholm, to a father of Algerian origin and a mother who hailed
from Finland. He grew up in Sweden and was first arrested in 2001 in
Pakistan, to where he traveled following the 9/11 terror attacks in
New York. Ghezali was reportedly jailed in Guantanamo for a period of
time, but was then released following intervention by the Swedish
prime minister on his behalf.
Swedish authorities on Thursday denied the reports and denied that
Ghezali was the terrorist behind Wednesday´s attack and Bulgarian
officials have also denied that he was the bomber.
Israeli and Bulgarian media have repeatedly replayed the images of
the suspected terrorist roaming the terminal on Wednesday. Wearing
checked Bermuda shorts and blue t-shirt and carrying a small
rucksack, the bomber blended in seamlessly with the relaxed crowds
travelling to Bulgaria´s sandy Black Sea coast.
The man in his mid-30s, long dark curly hair under dark blue cap,
roamed for an hour under the gaze of surveillance cameras through
airport buildings and around the car park. Surrounded by Israeli
tourists, among tens of thousands who visit Bulgaria every year, it
seemed to be just a matter of choosing his target. Some witnesses
said when the Israeli tourists boarded the bus, the man ran towards
it, pressed himself against the back of the bus and then detonated
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