Bulgaria has given Europol the names of the two people it suspects of being involved in the July terrorist attack in Burgas.
By Svetla Dimitrova for Southeast European Times in Sofia -- 15/02/13
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov will brief his EU counterparts on the investigation on Monday (February 18th). [AFP]
Bulgaria Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov is expected to brief his EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday (February 18th) on the findings of the investigation into the terrorist attack in Burgas last summer.
The Bulgarian Interior Ministry this week turned over data to Europol, including the names of two of the alleged perpetrators.
"The goal is to get as much information as possible on their previous visits to Europe," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters following talks with Europol chief Rob Wainwright.
Announcing some of the results of the more than six-month inquiry into the July 18th 2012 attack that killed five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver, Tsvetanov said that there were facts pointing to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah "financing and involvement" in the incident.
Mladenov told Sofia-based private Darik Radio in an interview on Saturday that the EU would surely take some joint steps against Hezbollah's activities following the official presentation of the results of the inquiry.
The inclusion of the suspects' names in the Europol database should serve as an alert for national services in the event any of them enters an EU country and should also help trace transfers to their bank accounts.
The identity of two of the people who carried out the attack has been established, Tsvetanov said on February 5th when he released some of the investigation findings. The two -- one of which holds a Canadian passport and the other an Australian passport -- have lived in Lebanon since 2006 and 2010, and are believed to belong to Hezbollah's military wing.
Israel and the United States have been urging the EU to recognise Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.
According to authorities in Sofia, the two arrived to Bulgaria on June 28th and left the country after the attack on July 18th, entering and exiting the Balkan nation via its northern neighbour Romania using their legitimate ID papers.
The pair and the third -- yet unidentified -- suspect, who died in the explosion, moved inside Bulgaria using only fake driver's licences, purportedly issued in the US state of Michigan. The authorities in Sofia say they were actually produced on a printer in Beirut.
According to news reports, Bulgaria's charge d'affaires in Beirut Plamen Tzolov gave Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour a "full report" on the Burgas attack and a memo including a request for assistance in the case.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press quoted Stanimir Florov, the head of Bulgaria's General Directorate on Combating Organised Crime, as telling the state-run national radio BNR that Sofia has sent an official request to the Lebanese authorities calling for the suspects' arrest and extradition to Bulgaria.
The third person, who was originally described as the suicide bomber, moved around Bulgaria with a fake Michigan driver's license with the name Jacques Felipe Martin. The bomb he carried in his backpack was detonated remotely by his accomplices while he was placing it on the tour bus, Canadian daily National Post reported, citing Europol.