Thursday, July 25, 2013

Names of Hezbollah terrorists linked to Burgas attack released


Names of Hezbollah terrorists linked to Burgas attack released

By David BarnettJuly 25, 2013




Bulgaria's Ministry of Interior today released the names and photos of two

Hezbollah operatives tied to the Burgas terror attack in July 2012 that

killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian national. The Ministry of Interior

said it was appealing to society for cooperation in locating the suspects.


The first Hezbollah operative identified by Bulgarian authorities is Meliad

Farah (a.k.a. Hussein Hussein), an Australian national. Farah, who has been

previously described as a "bombmaker of Lebanese descent," was born on Nov.

5, 1980.


The second operative identified by Bulgarian authorities is Hassan El Hajj

Hassan, a Canadian national. Hassan was born on March 22, 1988. Hassan is

reportedly related to the unnamed terrorist who died in the attack. Hassan

was born in Lebanon, but moved to Canada at the age of eight. According to

Canadian authorities, the suspect has not been a "habitual resident" of

Canada since he was 12.


Between their arrival in Bulgaria on June 28 and the day of the attack in

Burgas on July 18, both men were "spotted in the regions of Ruse, Varna,

Nesebar, the "Sunny beach" resort and the village of Ravda," the Ministry of

Interior said in a statement. The ministry further said that the men

"registered themselves at hotels and accommodations, using fake identities

under the name of Brian Jeremiah Jameson, Jacque Felipe Martin and Ralph

William Rico. They are also believed to have rented cars using the mentioned

fake identities."


Press reports had previously revealed that all of the driver's licenses were

forged by the same printer in Beirut, which is tied to a Hezbollah

operative. The printer is reportedly also known to have produced forged

documents for other Hezbollah members.


Burgas Bombing Licenses.jpg


While Bulgarian authorities did not say where they believe Hassan and Farah

currently reside, reports have previously said that authorities are fairly

certain the two suspects returned to southern Lebanon after the attack and

remain there. For example, on July 23 the Israeli daily Haaretz reported,

based on comments from a senior member of Israel's Foreign Ministry, "the

men are hiding in southern Lebanon, and that Israel is searching for them."


Today's announcement from Bulgarian authorities comes just a couple of days

after the European Union announced that it had reached a unanimous decision

to designate the so-called military wing of Hezbollah as a terror

organization. Hezbollah's role in the July 2012 Burgas terror attack and the

recent conviction of Hezbollah operative Hossam Taleb Yaacoub in Cyprus are

viewed as two of the key pieces of evidence that pushed forward the

long-awaited designation. Hezbollah's continued involvement in the Syrian

civil war in support of the Assad regime is also seen as a reason for the



On July 23, the Israeli media revealed that during the investigation into

the Burgas attack, Israeli authorities figured out that the bomb used in the

Burgas attack was linked to bombs in Hezbollah terror plots in Nazareth and



Bulgarian officials first charged that Hezbollah was behind the attack on

Feb. 5, 2013. "We have followed their [the suspects] entire activities in

Australia and Canada so we have information about financing and their

membership in Hezbollah. A reasonable assumption can be made that the two of

them were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah," Tsvetan Tsvetanov,

then Interior Minister, said at the time.


The Burgas attack


On July 18, 2012, the 18th anniversary of the Buenos Aires AMIA bombing, a

bomb (it is unclear if it was a suicide bomber) exploded as Israeli tourists

boarded buses at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria. Five Israelis and one

Bulgarian national were killed in the attack, which wounded dozens.


While Bulgaria's Interior Minister said that the bombing was "a deliberate

attack," Israeli officials quickly pointed the finger at Iran and Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's soon declared: "I know based on

absolutely rock-solid intelligence that this is Hezbollah and this is

something that Iran knows about very, very well."


Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee countered by saying

Israel had carried out the attack. "Such [a] terrorist operation could only

be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of

state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed at implicating others

for narrow political gains," he claimed.


Despite Iranian allegations, American and Israeli officials were soon fairly

certain that the attack had been carried out by Hezbollah with direction

from Iran. "Israeli intelligence has evidence of many telephone calls

between Lebanon and Burgas in the two months before the bombing ... with the

volume intensifying in the three days leading up to it," the New York Times

reported in early August. The numbers in Lebanon were tied to known

Hezbollah operatives.


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