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.
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
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
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