Investigations are continuing into the identity of the suicide bomber whose July 18 terrorist attack on Israeli tourists at Bulgaria’s Bourgas Airport led to seven deaths including his own and the injury of more than 30 people.
DNA material from the mutilated remains of the bomber was ready, and fingerprints had been taken, Bulgarian authorities said on July 19, and were being checked against databases.
Israeli media quoted a US official as having told the New York Times that the suicide bomber was a Hezbollah operative, acting ultimately on the orders ofIran, who carried out the bombing as revenge against assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.Iran, however, already had denied complicity in the terrorist attack.
Bulgarian National Television reported on July 20 that the suicide bomber had stayed in the Black Sea resort towns of Ravda and Pomorie before the attack.
An eyewitness, the owner of a car hire firm in Pomorie where the bomber reportedly made a failed attempt to hire a car – the attempt failed because the car rental firm owner doubted the authenticity of his driving licence – described the man as speaking English with a foreign accent, perhaps an Arabic accent.
Even though a video grab said by Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry to be of the suicide bomber shows a man with long hair, the car hire firm owner said that the person who had attempted to hire the car had short hair, even though his driving licence depicted him with long hair.
On the day of the attack, Bulgarian authorities said that a fakeMichigandriving licence was found on the corpse of the bomber.
The taxi driver who had taken the bomber to Bourgas Airport had been identified, Bourgas district prosecutor Kalina Chapkanova told Bulgarian National Television.
Bulgarian authorities do not yet know precisely when the bomber entered the country, with estimates ranging from four to seven days. Earlier reports said that he had been in Bulgaria just a few days before the terrorist attack.
Chapkanova said that there was no evidence of a “Bulgarian connection”. “We have no evidence of his nationality and no information about people who helped him,” she said.
Media reports on July 19 that the bomber was a Swedish national of Algerian and Finnish descent, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner named Mehdi Geza, have been denied by Sweden and by Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
At a news conference on July 20, Tsvetanov said that the possibility that the bomber may have had an accomplice had not been ruled out.
He said that he expected that details of the type of explosive used in the attack could be established later on July 20.
Tsvetanov said that it was essential to liaise with other special services because the attacker had not been a Bulgarian citizen.
An Interpol team was due to arrive in Bulgaria to assist. The team was to include experts in various fields from the United States, Switzerland and France.
(Photo: Interior Ministry press centre)