US Congress Backs Bulgarian Burgas Probe, Urges EU to Blacklist Hezbollah

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 20, 2013, Wednesday // 14:35
Bulgaria: US Congress Backs Bulgarian Burgas Probe, Urges EU to Blacklist Hezbollah The July 18 bombing at the Burgas airport killed 5 Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and the perpetrator of the attack. Photo by BGNES

The US House of Representatives has expressed its support for Bulgaria's recent report on the 2012 Burgas bus bombing.

On February 5, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov stated that Bulgarian investigators had "a well-founded assumption" that the perpetrators of the deadly attack belonged to the military formation of Hezbollah.

"Your comprehensive investigation builds a sound foundation for further action against Hizbollah, and we look forward to supporting you in your next steps," the House of Representatives has now said in a statement.

The statement has further claimed that "the Bulgarian report demonstrates irrefutable evidence that Hizbollah was responsible for the Burgas bombing."

According to the statement, the investigation of the Burgas bombing, coupled with the deep body of evidence and intelligence that supported the decisions by the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands to classify in its entirety Hizbollah as a terrorist organization, and action by the United Kingdom and Australia to place the "Hizbollah External Security Organization" on their terrorist lists, "demonstrates an unmistakable path forward for the European Union to isolate Hizbollah over its support for terror and incitement."

"Placing Hizbollah on the terrorist list would be the next logical step, in light of the terrorist attack on European soil. Blocking Hizbollah from fundraising would make it more difficult for Hizbollah to plan, fmance and execute terrorist activities in Europe and around the world. We fear that failure to add Hizbollah to the terror list will allow, perhaps even encourage, the terror organization to exploit the lack of unity in the European Union Member States, and attempts to launch additional attacks on civilians. Furthermore, ifHizbollah's ability to maintain fundraising networks in Europe remains intact, this threatens to undermine the European Union's significant efforts towards Middle East peace."

Only two EU countries currently label Hezbollah a terrorist organization—the UK and the Netherlands. The UK blacklists only the military wing of the Shiite organization.

Blacklisting the organization could allow regional authorities to clamp down on financial flows to the group and open the way for freezing assets linked to Hezbollah in Europe.

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Tags: EU, Hezbollah, Burgas, Bulgaria, Congress, House of Representatives, Burgas bus bombing, terrorist

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