This week in Jewish history | Burgas bus bombing kills five Israelis, wounds dozens more  - World Jewish Congress

This week in Jewish history | Burgas bus bombing kills five Israelis, wounds dozens more 

22 Jul 2021 Facebook Created with Sketch. Twitter Created with Sketch. Email Print
This week in Jewish history | Burgas bus bombing kills five Israelis, wounds dozens more 

On 18 July 2012, five Israelis and a Bulgarian driver were murdered and 32 Israelis were wounded in a bus bombing at the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria carried out by the Iranian proxy terrorist organization Hezbollah. 

Survivors of the bombing described a gut-wrenching scene, with people shouting and crying and body parts being thrown into the air. Some passengers on the bus jumped out of windows to escape to safety.  

The attack was condemned across the political spectrum. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would "react firmly [to this] global Iranian terror onslaught," and similar remarks were made by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres

The day following the attack,the Bulgarian Parliament unanimously condemned it, and urged the relevant authorities to take all measures in order to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.  Similar statements were made by the United Nations, European Union and others.     

Bulgarian authorities named Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan as suspects in the bombing and formally confirmed that they believed Hezbollah had carried out the terrorist attack. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in the first major announcement of the investigation, said, “We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah.” That position was reiterated by newly appointed Bulgarian Interior Minister  Tsvetlin Yovche in July 2013, who stated, "There are clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing." 

According to prosecutors, the two men entered the country legally, along with the suicide bomber, Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini. According to witnesses, El-Husseini attempted to put his backpack inside the luggage compartment of the bus when it exploded. Prosecutors could not establish whether the explosion was triggered by El-Husseini or remotely detonated by one of two accomplices. 

Subsequently, perhaps partly in response to the bombing, the European Union unanimously voted to list the military branch of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. 

In September 2020, a Bulgarian court sentenced in absentia Farah and Hassan to life in prison in connection with the bombing for providing logistical support to the bomber. Due to the ruling, the pair were subject to an Interpol red notice.  

The attack took place exactly 18 years after another deadly Hezbollah-perpetrated attack:  the AMIA building bombing in Buenos Aires.    

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