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U.S. official: Bulgaria bomber a Hezbollah operative

JTA

July 20, 2012 | 10:12 am

A still picture taken from CCTV surveillance camera shows the suspected bomber at Bulgaria's Burgas airport on July 18. Photo by REUTERS/Interior Ministry/Handout

A still picture taken from CCTV surveillance camera shows the suspected bomber at Bulgaria's Burgas airport on July 18. Photo by REUTERS/Interior Ministry/Handout

The suicide bomber who perpetrated the attack on Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, was a member of Hezbollah, U.S. officials said.

The suicide bomber was “acting under broad guidance” to hit Israeli targets, an unnamed senior U.S. official told The New York Times. Other U.S. officials confirmed to the newspaper that the bomber was a member of Hezbollah.

Theattacker, who killed five Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver and himself, reportedly had a fake Michigan driver’s license. While his name and nationality remain unknown, there are no indications that he was connected to the United States, the official said. “This looks like he was hanging out for a local target, and when this popped up he jumped on it,” the official told the Times.

He speculated that the attack was in response for assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and workers in the past few years, which Iran has blamed on Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in attacks on Iranian nuclear workers.

Shortly after the bombing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Iran, Hezbollah’s main patron, for the attack.

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