Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 - 4 of Heshvan, 5781

Two Hezbollah operatives sentenced in asbentia to life prison for the 2012 bomb attack against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria

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In the bomb attack, five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed. Close to 40 people were seriously injured.

The Bulgarian-led investigation, conducted in coordination with Europol, the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel, found decisive evidence that Hezbollah’s external security unit provided both logistical and financial backing for the bombing.

A five-member panel of Bulgaria’s Special Criminal Court has found two Hezollah operatives, Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan,  guilty in connection with the July 2012 terrorist attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at Burgas Airport and sentenced the two to life in prison with no possibility of parole, The Sofia Globe reported.

In the bomb attack, five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed. Close to 40 people were seriously injured. The bearer of the bomb died.

The trial took place in absentia. Meliad Farah, holder of Australian and Lebanese citizenship, and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian passport-holder, are the subject of an Interpol red notice.

Prosecutors had sought the sentence handed down on Monday by the Special Criminal Court, while court-appointed counsel for the defence had argued that there was no conclusive direct evidence linking the two to the terrorist attack.

The Bulgarian-led investigation, conducted in coordination with Europol, the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel, found decisive evidence that Hezbollah’s external security unit provided both logistical and financial backing for the bombing.

Bulgaria’s then-interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said at the time, “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.” Rob Wainwright, then-executive director of Europol, said he backed the Bulgarians’ conclusion that Hezbollah was involved.

In addition to the life sentences, the court sentenced the two to 10 years in prison each for using forged driving licences.

 

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