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Cdn. citizen one of two suspects in Bulgarian attack

Tags: International

A Canadian man with links to the terrorist organization Hezbollah was one of two people implicated in a terrorist attack in Bulgaria that killed six, including five Israelis, a Bulgarian official said last week.

Hezbollah also financed the bomb attack on a tour bus full of Israelis last July, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters on Feb. 5, following a six-hour cabinet meeting.

The people directly behind the attack were part of a Hezbollah cell that included two operatives using passports from Australia and Canada.

“I can confirm that the individual in question is a dual national who resides in Lebanon,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters Feb. 5.

“Canada commends Bulgaria for its thorough investigation of last summer’s heinous attack in Burgas,” Baird said. “That Bulgaria has found convincing evidence of Hezbollah involvement in this carnage is, sadly, not surprising. It is yet more evidence of the depravity of Hezbollah. We urge the European Union and all partners who have not already done so to list Hezbollah as a terrorist entity and prosecute terrorist acts committed by this inhumane organization to the fullest possible extent.”

Unveiling the results of the six-month inquiry in Sofia on Feb. 5, Tsvetanov said: “We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” adding: “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.” The pair had lived in Lebanon since 2006 and 2010 respectively, the AFP news agency quoted Tsvetanov as saying.

On Feb. 6, Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism told CTV News that the alleged Canadian accomplice first immigrated to Canada when he was eight, obtained citizeship “about three or four years after that” and then returned to Lebanon at age 12.

He said the individual had returned to Canada on a few occasions since then but was not “a habitual” resident of the country.

In the wake of accusations that it was involved in the Burgas terror attack, Iran is recalling its ambassador to Bulgaria.

Iran also reportedly will downgrade its relations with Bulgaria, according to reports.

Last Friday, Iran’s ambassador to Bulgaria denied Iranian involvement in the attack.

“This has nothing to do with Iran,” Gholamreza Bageri told reporters. “We are against any form of terrorism and strongly condemn such actions.”

Iran has accused Israel of staging the attack. Israel has blamed Hezbollah and Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Bulgaria for its investigation and findings in a statement on Feb. 5 and asked the EU to finally list Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.

“There is only one Hezbollah, a single organization with the same leadership.”

He added: “The attack in Burgas was on European soil against a member of the European Union. We hope the Europeans will draw the necessary conclusions as to Hezbollah’s true nature.”

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