Bulgaria arrests man who called in video for ‘Jihad’ against Israelis and Americans

Bulgarian police have arrested a 50-year-old man who recorded a video message called for “Jihad” and mass attacks against Israelis and Americans, the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s Office said at a joint news conference on October 26.

Believed to have been born in Beirut, the man has been in Bulgaria since 1996, with humanitarian status since 2004.

Ilaina Kirilova of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office said that at 5pm on October 25, the office had received a report from the State Agency for National Security about a video “showing a person wearing certain clothing typical of the representatives of Palestine and calling for revenge because of what is happening in the territory of Palestine”.

“Immediate measures have been taken,” Kirilova said.

Deputy City Prosecutor Hristo Krastev said: “The person is stateless but is believed to be a Palestinian born in Beirut. In the video he calls for a holy war against Israelis and Americans”.

The man was stopped on the Trakia Motorway at the entrance to Sofia and taken into 72-hour custody. If found guilty under the relevant section of the Criminal Code, he could be sent to prison for up to eight years.

In 2017, the man was convicted of assisting illegal residents in Bulgaria after he was caught on Trakia Motorway transporting six irregular migrants from Afghanistan. He offered a 200 euro bribe to the police patrol who stopped him and was arrested.

He was given a suspended sentence, and after the probationary period, was deemed to be rehabilitated.

The man is married and has secondary education. The news conference was told that he had combat experience and had participated in military operations.

His identity as the man in the video was confirmed by facial recognition technology, and examination showed that the video was made using one of the phones confiscated in his home.

He is to appear in Sofia City Court for a hearing on an application by prosecutors for him to be remanded in custody pending the outcome of his trial.

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