Hezbollah rejects Bulgaria bomb link as ‘Israeli smears’

HEZBOLLAH has dismissed Bulgaria’s claim that it carried out a bomb attack which killed five Israeli tourists last year.

The Lebanese Islamist movement said the allegation was part of an Israeli smear campaign. Its deputy leader, Naim Qassem, said Israel was directing “allegations and incitements and accusations against Hezbollah” because it had failed to defeat it militarily.

Bulgaria said this week that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried out a bombing on a bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas in July. The conclusions of the investigation might open the way for the European Union to join the US in branding Hezbollah a terrorist organisation, as the outrage was committed on EU soil. Mr Qassem said Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 and is now part of the Lebanese government, would not be deflected. “Israel is leading a campaign to intimidate people and countries against us,” he told students in Beirut. Bulgaria says bombing suspects now live in Lebanon.