US Congress Asks Obama to Help Bulgaria in Terror Act Probe

Diplomacy | January 5, 2013, Saturday // 12:44|  views

Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the July 18 terrorist attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas. Photo by BGNES

Resolutions about Hezbollah and the bomb attack at Bulgaria's Sarafovo Airport in the summer have been approved recently by the two houses of the Congress of the United States.

The resolutions urge Europe and the European Union to sanction Lebanese Hezbollah both for terrorism and for its direct and material support to Bashar al Assad in his war against the Syrian people, the Bulgarian Focus news agency reported Saturday.

The documents also call on US President Barack Obama to ensure any necessary diplomatic, intelligence and law-enforcing support for the Bulgarian government in the investigation of the July 18 terror attack in the city of Burgas.

The resolutions note that according to John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to Obama, the terror attack bears the sign of Hezbollah.

They confirm US support for Bulgaria as a NATO member state and further urge the US, NATO and the EU to work together with Bulgaria to protect its territory and citizens against any terrorist threat.

The documents have been approved in the House of Representatives on January 1, 2013. They were authored and tabled by Republican Congressman Mike Kelly.

In mid-December, the resolution on Hezbollah was presented by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), and James Risch (R-ID), and was approved by the Senate.

Resolutions of this type are not binding.

Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the July 18 terrorist attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas. 32 Israeli tourists were injured. Israeli and American intelligence and officials largely blame Hezbollah for the attack.

However, Bulgarian officials, including the President, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, have been very wary of directly involving Hezbollah, reiterating it all depended on the findings of the ongoing investigation.

Recently, European diplomats were quoted saying that he results of Bulgaria's probe in July's bombing of an Israeli tour bus, including a possible Hezbollah lead, will be "essential" for the EU process to list the Lebanese organization as a terrorist entity.

The US included Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations as early as 1995.

In the eve of the recent visit of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to Washington DC, and his December 3 meeting with US President, Barack Obama, the new US Ambassador in Sofia, Marcie Ries, stressed Obama was expecting to hear from Borisov the latest developments in the probe in the Burgas terror act.

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