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Burgas Attack

The terrorist? Mehdi Ghezali
The terrorist? Mehdi Ghezali 
 
Suspect's fake driver's license
Suspect's fake driver's license 
 
Terrorist at airport Photo: AFP
Terrorist at airport Photo: AFP
 
 

Report: Burgas bomber an Algerian-Swedish Islamist

Bulgarian media name Mehdi Ghezali as suspected terrorist who blew up Israeli tour bus, say he spent two years in Guantanamo Bay. Stockholm denies he was Swedish national

Yitzhak Benhorin
Latest Update: 07.19.12, 23:31 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Sweden denied Thursday reports in Bulgarian media suggesting that that Mehdi Ghezali, the suspected suicide bomber who executed the terror attack on Israeli tourists in Burgas, was a Swedish national. Meanwhile, new details on the suspect contiune to emerge.

 

Bulgarian media named Ghezali as the terrorist saying he was an Algerian-Swedish Islamist who spent two years in Guantanamo Bay.

 

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"We don't know this name", Swedish Security Service Chief Claes Ohison said, but would not elaborate.

 

Earlier, ABC News published a photo of a fake Michigan driver's license that belonged to the man who was identified by Bulgarian authorities as the suicide bomber.

   

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Security camera footage from Burgas airport 

 

According to the image obtained by ABC, the "Michigan Operator's License" with the name "Jacque Felipe Martin" showed that the suspect included a fake Louisiana address as his permanent residence. The address is actually that of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana casino, called the Belle of Baton Rouge.

 

The suspected bombers true identity has yet to be revealed.

 

Bulgarian officials quoted by bTV said the terrorist was aided by several people in Bulgaria – Lebanese citizens or local radical Islamists who planned the operation. The explosives were manufactured inside Bulgaria, according to reports.

 

Bulgarian prosecutors said that the suspect spent some time in the Ravda resort south of Burgas, where he tried to rent a car. This attempt failed as his fake driver's lisecnce aroused the suspicion of the car rental firm.

 

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said the man had been in the country for four to seven days and was about 35 years old.

 

"From what we could see on the (security) video cameras, we think it's a person who was a suicide bomber," a Bulgarian official in Burgas told ABC News. "The investigation is still going on in close cooperation with the Israelis and Americans."

 

Bulgarian television aired security camera footage Thursday showing the suspected bomber wandering in and out of the terminal shortly before the blast. He was dressed as a tourist himself, wearing a baseball cap, T-shirt, plaid shorts and sneakers with short white socks. He carried a large backpack with wheels.

 

Officials said the bomb detonated in the luggage compartment of the bus as the attacker mingled among his victims.

 

The body of the man seen in the video sustained the most severe damage in the blast, leading investigators to believe he was the suicide bomber. An American passport (Michigan), which was apparently fake, and other personal documents were found in his belongings.

 

Officials were using DNA samples to try to establish his identity. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told reporters that a Michigan driver's license was retrieved, but he said US officials reported that "there was no such person in their database." Michigan is home to one of the largest Arab communities in the US.

 

News agencies contributed to this report

 

 

First Published: 07.19.12, 19:28

 

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