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Bulgaria bus bomb attack linked to Hezbollah and Canadian, Australian passports

Suspects with Australian and Canadian passports have been tied to the deaths of five Israeli tourists in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas.

Bulgaria bus bomb burgas relatives 08 2012Enlarge
Relatives of five Israeli victims of a suicide blast at Burgas airport on July 18 attend a commemoration ceremony in Sofia's Synagogue on August 28, 2012. The bomb attack killed five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas which is a popular destination for Israeli tourists. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Bulgarian authorities linked last July’s deadly bus bombing to the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah Tuesday, saying some of those involved carried passports from Australia and Canada.

A six-month investigation resulted in “obvious links” to Hezbollah, a militant political group branded as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, the BBC said.

“We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said, according to the BBC.

“There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.”

The attack killed six Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber as they boarded a bus at the Black Sea resort city of Burgas.

Investigators also revealed that the bomber might not have intended to die, with evidence pointing to a remote detonation or a malfunction.

The Lebanese government said it would cooperate with the Bulgarian investigation, Al Jazeera reported.

“Lebanon trusts that the Bulgarian authorities will undertake a serious evaluation of the results of the investigation, and affirms that it is ready to cooperate with Bulgaria to shed light on the circumstances,” Lebanon's prime minister, Najib Mikati, said in a statement.

Hezbollah didn’t comment on the findings, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on European leaders to follow America’s lead and brand Hezbollah a terrorist group.

Such a move would freeze any Hezbollah assets in Europe. Bulgaria’s initial investigation didn’t reveal links to Iran, however, something alluded to by Israel.

“The attack in Burgas was an attack on European land against a member of the European Union,” Netanyahu said, according to The Associated Press.

“We hope the Europeans learn the proper conclusions from this about the true character of Hezbollah.”

The White House released a statement on the matter by John Brennan, a counterterrorism assistant to Barack Obama and the president's to head the CIA.

"We commend Bulgarian authorities for their determination and commitment to ensuring that Hezbollah is held to account for this act of terror on European soil. The United States will continue to provide the Bulgarian Government assistance in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice," Brennan said in the statement.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130205/bulgaria-bus-bomb-attack-linked-hezbollah-canadian-australian-pa