A Bulgarian court on Monday sentenced two Hezbollah terrorists in absentia to life imprisonment for blowing up a bus in 2012 in Bugas Bulgaria, killing five Israeli tourists, four in their 20s and one 42-year-old pregnant woman, as well as the Bulgarian-Muslim bus driver. The bombing also injured over 35 people, some seriously.
The attack was the deadliest against Israelis outside Israel since 2004.
However, the sentence did not fully satisfy the state of Israel or the relatives of the victims since the Hezbollah terrorist organization was not implicated in the attack. The victims’ family members have demanded that Hezbollah itself be indicted for the attack.
Despite clear evidence that Hezbollah was behind the attack, with Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov citing Hezbollah’s involvement, the Bulgarian state prosecutors decided not to charge Hezbollah for the attack, instead indicting the two terrorists as criminals unconnected to any organization, without any mention of Hezbollah in the indictment.
The evidence of Hezbollah being involved in the Burgas bombing is what led the European Union to finally designate Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.
Some say that the tumultuous political situation in Bulgaria, with many political changes and crisises since 2012, has undermined the trial.
The whereabouts of the terrorists, Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan, are officially unknown although they are believed to be in Lebanon.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)