Investigators establish identity of one of accomplices in Bourgas Airport terrorist bombing

Investigators have established the identity of one of the accomplices in the July 2012 suicide bombing terrorist attack against a group of Israeli tourists at Bourgas Airport on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

The identity of the accomplice has not been disclosed publicly. The identity of the suicide bomber is still not known.

The bomber and his accomplices were all foreigners.

A total of seven people died in the attack – five Israeli citizens, a Bulgarian and the terrorist bomber. More than 30 were injured.

In an interview posted on the website of Bulgarian-language 24 Chassa on January 3 2013, Stanelia Karadzhova, head of the Bourgas District Investigation Department, said that the accomplice who had been identified came from a country where he had not been seen for the past six years.

Karadzhova confirmed that the bombing was to be re-enacted to assist investigations. Two old buses and a quantity of explosives had been acquired. So that conditions would be similar to those on the day of the terrorist attack, investigators would wait until the spring to carry out out the test.

She also confirmed that the explosives had been on the person of the suicide bomber and not elsewhere in the bus. It had not been established whether the suicide bomber had detonated himself or had been blown up using a remote control device.

She said that there was no evidence that the three had been in Bulgaria prior to their arrival for the attack on the Israeli tourists.

The photo image of the Bourgas terrorist suicide bomber distributed via Interpol in 2012. Photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry

The possibility of a fourth accomplice was being investigated.

“Some time ago in Greece the authorities ascertained the presence of a person, having an ID document that is identical to those of the people, who are involved with the attack in Bulgaria. But no categorical connection has been proved,” Karadzhova said.

The group had been in Bulgaria since mid-June 2012, she said, and had been “noticed” in cities in north-eastern Bulgaria. Investigators had not found that the group had assistance from anyone in Bulgaria.

Karadzhova disclosed that a new photo impression of the suicide bomber, who was aged 20 to 25, 1.8 metres tall and had hazel eyes, had been developed and sent to the Interior Ministry’s department in charge of international operational co-operation about two weeks ago. This artist’s impression has not been made public.

In the weeks after the bombing, identikits of the bomber and an alleged accomplice were distributed publicly worldwide with the assistance of Interpol.

An artist's impression of one of the accomplices. Photo: Interior Ministry

Other aspects of the investigation included analysis of internet traffic at the time of the bombing. Elements of such traffic that would be flagged included anything suspicious, including anti-Jewish messages and texts.

The bomber and the accomplices had not been seen together, Karadzhova said. Nowhere on video surveillance cameras was any seen speaking on the phone. The relationship of the group had been established via common evidence such as their identity documents. “All are from the same state and all are false,” she said.

She said that part of a mobile phone SIM card from a Moroccan operator had been found on the scene. It was not known in whose possession the SIM card had been and as yet, there had been no response to a request for assistance sent to Morocco.

Extensive forensic work has been done and more than 150 witnesses have been questioned in the investigation so far.


The suicide bomber in Bourgas Airport, as recorded by a security camera.



Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.