Israel: Hezbollah behind Bulgaria attack | News | DW | 19.07.2012
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Israel: Hezbollah behind Bulgaria attack

Israel has openly implicated Hezbollah and Iran in the suicide attack in Bulgaria that killed Israeli tourists. But with the bomber still unidentified and Iran denying the charges, questions remain unanswered.

Israel on Thursday blamed Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and Iran for an alleged terrorist attack at a Bulgarian airport on Wednesday that left at least six people dead, including five Israelis.

"Yesterday's attack in Bulgaria was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, while addressing a news conference.

But despite soaring tensions and discussion over whether Israel could respond to the attack with force, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak seemed to signal that Tel Aviv was opting for a more restrained approach.

Commenting on the attack on Israel Radio, Barak said that his country would "do everything possible in order to find those responsible, and those who dispatched them, and punish them." The pledge clearly focused on reprisals against individuals rather than governments.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian officials have not officially commented on who they believe is responsible for the attack. And Iran has staunchly denied the allegations leveled against them by Israel.

Identifying the perpetrator

The bus that was targeted by the suicide bomber in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian authorities and the FBI are still trying to identify the individual responsible for the attack on the tourist bus

Wednesday's attack was a suicide mission, carried out by an unidentified young male wearing Bermuda shorts and a large backpack. An airport security camera with footage of the suspected attacker was released by the Bulgarian Interior Minister on Thursday.

His target was a bus carrying mostly Israeli tourists who had arrived on a flight from Tel Aviv to the Black Sea port city of Burgas, a popular holiday destination for Israelis.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov on Thursday said that the authorities had obtained the suspect's fingerprints and were carrying out DNA tests in coordination with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The minister also added that the individual was travelling on fake documents.

"His travel document was a fake driving license from the (US) state of Michigan ... (His) identity has not yet been established," said the minister.

sej/slk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)