SOFIA, Bulgaria – Hezbollah was behind a bus attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, investigators said Tuesday, describing a sophisticated bombing carried out by a terrorist cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens.
The announcement brought renewed pressure on the European Union from the U.S., Israel and Canada to designate the group a terrorist organization and to crack down on its fundraising operations. The EU, which regards Hezbollah as a legitimate political organization, has resisted such a move.
Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said two of the suspects in the July attack had been living in Lebanon for years – one with a Canadian passport and the other with an Australian one.
We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah, Tsvetanov said.
A third suspect entered Bulgaria with them on June 28, he said, without giving details.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the attack and said his country would cooperate fully.
Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political party in Lebanon, has been linked to attacks on Israeli and Jewish interests around the world.
The group has denied involvement in the Bulgaria bombing, and Hezbollah officials in Beirut declined to comment Tuesday.