Bulgarian Probe Fails again to Shed Light on Burgas Bombing
The top lead in the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas is that it had been perpetrated by a suicide bomber.
The statement was made Friday before bTV by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Tsvetanov, however, added the possibility that the attacker was blown remotely is still on the table.
According to him, the second questioning of Israeli witnesses failed to confirm information from the media that the bag of the said suicide bomber was placed in the luggage compartment of the bus which was to carry the tourists to the nearby Sunny Beach resort.
"The investigation is still going on and it can last years as it happens in such cases. These are thousands of people from which we must find 4 – 5," said the Minister.
He further stated Bulgaria has operational results which give an idea of a State and organization being the masterminds of the act, but failed to offer details and names, only promising such announcement is forthcoming.
Tsvetanov appealed to the media to restrain from speculations on the above, stressing this has been an act of terror.
Israel, the US, and Great Britain insist the attack was plotted by Iran and Hezbollah. During the week, Ilana Stein, deputy spokesperson at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, hinted of a certain Iranian or Lebanese involvement in the bus bombing. She confirmed Israel's official stance, with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blaming Iran and pro-Iranian Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for the bus bombing right after the first reports came out.
On Monday, Tsvetanov reported that the probe had new details and promised some information will be made available to the media on the next day. He later retracted the deadline, saying it won't happen before Thursday.
On Thursday, the Interior Ministry released a computer-generated image of an alleged accomplice and a better photograph from a fake Michigan, US, driver's license, believed to have belonged to the perpetrator.
The July 18 terrorist attack in Bulgaria's Burgas, also known as the Burgas Bus Bombing, killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver at the Sarafovo Airport. The initial lead, purported by the Interior Minister was that it has been executed by a suicide bomber, who arrived from abroad.
According to observers and terror experts, this lead is looking less and less reliable and the most sustainable hypothesis is that the perpetrator has been used as a mule.
Israeli media largely back the above, writing that the young man with light complexion and blue eyes had been blown remotely, while standing between two coaches with Israeli tourists. He had been unaware that he was going to die and had the task to put the explosive on one of the buses. The bomb was placed in his backpack.
Remains of the man recovered from the scene of the fatal attack were used to create an image showing his possible appearance as part of an appeal for public assistance in identifying him.
At the request of Bulgarian police, INTERPOL issued a Black Notice – used to seek information about unidentified corpses – to each of its 190 member countries in all four official languages (Arabic, English, French and Spanish) and is now also publishing this reconstructed image to engage the public's help in identifying the man.
Tsvetanov's much anticipated Friday interview comes amidst a number of reports and expert opinions that the Bulgarian investigation is clueless about the identity of the perpetrator, any possible accomplices, the mastermind of the attack, its motives, and has botched the probe, while the US CIA and the Israeli Mossad are keeping Bulgarian colleagues on the sidelines and are feeding them selected pieces of information.
Last Sunday, Georgi Iliev, investigator from the National Investigative Services, stated the probe had decisively proven the alleged perpetrator of the terrorist act was a suicide bomber, only to retract this claim on the very next day.
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