On Tuesday, February 5, Canada confirmed that a suspect linked to a bomb attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria is a dual Canadian-Lebanese national, saying it takes allegations of his involvement “very seriously,” AFP reported.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said a suspect identified by Bulgarian authorities as a Hezbollah terrorist involved in the planning of the July attack that left six dead was a “dual national” living in Lebanon.
“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,” Baird said in a statement quoted by AFP.
“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,” he said.
“Canada takes the reported involvement of a dual national living in Lebanon very seriously and is working with Bulgarian authorities,” added Baird.
The Bulgarian government earlier announced that two people behind the attack held Canadian and Australian passports, but lived in Lebanon and were members of Hezbollah.
Canada designated Hezbollah as a terrorist entity in 2002, but there have been intelligence reports the group maintains a fundraising organization in Canada’s Lebanese diaspora.
Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian were killed in the bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists in the Burgas airport last July. On Tuesday, Bulgaria formally blamed the Burgas attack on Hizbullah, triggering renewed pressure for the European Union to follow Canada, the United States and others in formally designating the movement a terrorist group.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement Tuesday calling on the international community to recognize Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.
Shortly after the Burgas bombing, the EU decided not to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that there is “a need for reflection over the outcome of the investigation.”
“The implications of the investigation need to be assessed seriously as they relate to a terrorist attack on EU soil, which resulted in the killing and injury of innocent civilians,” she said.