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Burgas terror attack Photo: Reuters
Burgas terror attack Photo: Reuters
 
 

Criticism in Lebanon: Where is Hezbollah leading us?

From Burgas to Beirut, critics slam Hezbollah for attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and its influence on Lebanon

Roi Kais
Published: 02.06.13, 19:39 / Israel News

The Bulgarian police's announcement that Hezbollah is behind the Burgas terror attack on an Israeli tourist bus raised concerns in Lebanon. Movements opposing the terror group placed the blame of Lebanon's instability on the group's international aspirations, wondering "Where is Hezbollah leading us?"

 

The criticism, much like the results of the Bulgarian police's investigation, were met with a wall of silence from Hezbollah. However, Bulgaria says it will not allow the terror organization's involvement in the attack to slide.

 

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Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov told Al-Arabiya that the possibility that Hezbollah was responsible for the terror attack was "always on the table."

 

However, he said the Bulgarian government chose not to comment on such a scenario until sufficient evidence supporting it would be found.

 

“For six months we haven’t said anything, but now we have very strong evidence that those who planned and executed the bombing are from the military wing of Hezbollah…we will take what we have to our colleagues at the EU and discuss with them on what position we can take to make sure that don’t happen again,” Mladenov said. 

 


חמישה ישראלים נרצחו בפיגוע (צילום: AP)

Five Israelis killed in Burgas terror attack (Photo: AP)

 

"I suspect Hezbollah's adventures will have negative influence on the country," said Ziad Al-Kadri, from the Al-Mustaqba faction, which is affiliated with the anti-Hezbollah March 14 Alliance.

 

In a statement, the Lebanese MK explained that "the indictment of two Hezbollah operatives is the best proof that the organization's agenda well exceeds Lebanon's borders."

 

He also backed Prime Minister Najib Mikati readiness to cooperate with the Bulgarian authorities, calling on him to extradite the four Hezbollah men wanted by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

 

Other members of the faction, led by Saad al-Hariri, told An-Nahar newspaper that "the question is where is Hezbollah leading Lebanon. The answer should be given to all of the Lebanese people."

 

Hezbollah response, or lack of?

In the meantime, the terrorist group has chosen to keep silent. Hezbollah sources have reiterated that they are not interested in commenting on the Bulgarian claims.

 

Accordingly, Hezbollah-affiliated papers chose to highlight claims made by the Bulgarian opposition that the evidence was not strong enough to warrant an indictment.

 

Sources well informed in the internal works of the terror group attacked Mikati's eagerness to cooperate with the Bulgarians, slamming his desire to involve the European Union and even Israel in the process.

 

Regarding the results of the investigation, official Lebanese sources said that "the regime in Beirut was informed ahead of time regarding the outcome of the investigation."

 

According to them, "we knew before hand that Bulgarian authorities would differentiate between Hezbollah's military wing and the (political) party itself, so as not put the entire party on the EU's terror organization list."

 

In this regard, Western diplomatic sources told Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria that "the Bulgarian charges created a new opportunity for the European Union to register Hezbollah as a terror organization."

 

However, the London-based newspaper Al Hayat quoted European diplomatic sources as claiming that France favors placing the operatives charged with the terror attack on the EU's terrorist blacklist, but not the organization itself. They cited the desire to quell political instability in Lebanon as well as a desire not to endanger their own regional interests.

 

From Burgas with love

The investigation into the terror attack last July, in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian bus driver lost their lives, revealed that two of the terrorist behind the explosion were Hezbollah members.

 


Scene of Burgas attack (Archive photo: Tamir Kahane)

Scene of Burgas attack (Archive photo: Tamir Kahane)

 

Europol, the European Union's criminal intelligence agency, also claimed Hezbollah is behind the terror attack, saying the group used an advanced remote detonator to pull the explosion off.  
 
Despite the passports, Tsvetanov told reporters that the two had been living in Lebanon since 2006.

 

Eitan Ben David, the head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau updated the families of the Burgas victims.

 

Ben David told the families in the name of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "The State of Israel will do everything so that those responsible will pay the price for their actions."

 

Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report

 

 

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