Bulgaria: `Suicide bomber a former Gitmo detainee`

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu linked the blast in Bulgaria to a string of attacks on Israelis across the globe.

Updated: Jul 19, 2012, 22:24 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Sofia: A day after a suicide bomber killed seven people on an Israeli tourist bus, Bulgarian media on Thursday named the attacker as Mehdi Ghezali.

The attack, which has also injured dozens, is being blamed by Israel on Iranian-backed Hezbollah. Iran has denied Israel’s claim.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the charges are aimed at diverting world attention from Israel`s role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.

According to reports, Ghezali was a Swedish citizen and had Algerian and Finnish origins. He was at the US’ Guantanamo Bay detainment camp from 2002 to 2004, the reports added.

Ghezali studied at a Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain and travelled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said the identity of the suspected bomber was still unknown but a Michigan driving license that he carried was a fake.

"We worked on this with colleagues from the FBI and the CIA," Borisov said. "They said that there is no such person in their database."

The suspected bomber appeared on security camera tape for nearly an hour before the Wednesday attack, which gutted the bus at the airport in the quiet Black Sea resort of Burgas, 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of the capital, Sofia.

Borisov said he wants a photo of the suspect taken from the tape released and that a DNA expert is checking the suspect`s fingerprints.

"The site is still under investigation," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said. "Our main goal is within the day to gather the necessary evidence."

Also, Israel on Thursday warned Iran that it would "react powerfully against Iranian terror" as it held Tehran and Lebanese group Hezbollah responsible for the deadly attack in Bulgaria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who linked the blast to a string of attacks on Israelis across the globe including in India, said, "This is an Iranian terror campaign that is spreading throughout the world".

"All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places," Netanyahu said in a statement.

"Eighteen years exactly after the blast at the Jewish community centre in Argentina, murderous Iranian terror continues to hit innocent people. This is an Iranian terror attack that is spreading throughout the entire world," he said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reinforced the claims saying that Israel has solid information that Hezbollah, in close cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), carried out the terror attack in Burgas.

Israel`s information identifies with "certainty and beyond all doubt" the Iranian fingerprint on the attack, Lieberman told Israel Radio without elaborating further.

In an unusually tough remark, Israel`s President Shimon Peres said that Israel will hit terror nests around the world.

(With Agency inputs)