Bulgaria marked on July 18 2016 the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack at Bourgas Airport in which five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian and a bomb-bearer died, with the country’s prosecutors lodging indictments against two alleged perpetrators just three days before the four-year mark.
On July 15, prosecutors lodged at the Special Court indictments against Meliad Farah (36), a Lebanese national who holds an Australian passport, and Hassan el-Hajj Hassan (28), a Lebanese national who holds a Canadian passport.
The two are still being sought and the trial will proceed against them in absentia. Repeated attempts through international legal assistance mechanisms to establish their whereabout have failed.
Local media quoted Bulgaria-based journalist Mohammed Khalaf as saying, however, that one – Farah – was in Beirut at the headquarters of Hezbollah.
A Bulgarian-led international investigation into the terrorist attack established that it was the work of the military wing of Hezbollah. This led to the European Union declaring Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organisation.
The judge to preside over the case was expected to be named on July 18.
At Bourgas Airport, a commemorative ceremony will be held, with parents of two of the Israeli tourists targeted in the attack expected to be in attendance.
Bulgarian National Radio quoted Israeli ambassador in Sofia, Irit Lilian, as saying that the charges lodged by the Bourgas Regional Prosecutor’s Office as showing Bulgaria’s resolve to actively combat terrorism. Ambassador Lilian will speak at the commemorative ceremony at the airport.
Reports in the Bulgarian media said that the investigation into the Bourgas Airport terrorist attack had found that foreign intelligence services had possessed information that had not been shared and that could have been crucial in preventing the attack.
The terrorist attack on July 18 2012 is the only one in Bulgaria’s democratic era, and was the first attack on Bulgarian territory directed against a foreign country.