World Bulletin / News Desk
The Lebanese Hezbollah movement dismissed on Wednesday Bulgaria's accusation that it carried out a bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists last year, saying Israel was waging a smear campaign against it.
The remarks come after Bulgaria's Opposition Leader blasted his government for publishing findings when the investigation is still ongoing, and says the implication of Hezbollah is poorly founded.
Deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem said Israel was directing allegations and incitements and accusations against Hezbollah because it had failed to defeat it militarily.
The Bulgarian government's implication of Hezbollah in the Burgas bus bombing is poorly founded and imperils the national security, says opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Sergey Stanishev. Israel and its closest allies, the United States and Canada, have been quick to condemn Hezbollah and have stepped up their call for the European Union to designate the Lebanese resistance group as a "terrorist organisation."
Pressure on Hezbollah
It came at a time when the European Union was being pressured by the United States Congress and Israel to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Immediately the bombing occurred, both Israel and the U.S. began blaming Hezbollah, although the Bulgarian government insisted it had no idea at that stage who was behind the incident. In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for action if it emerges that there is solid evidence linking Hezbollah to the attack.
Qassem said Hezbollah, which Israel attacked but could defeat in 2006 and is now a powerful part of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government, would not change course or be deflected by the charges.
"Israel is leading an international campaign to intimidate people and countries against Hezbollah," he told religious students in southern Beirut.
"All these accusations against Hezbollah will have no effect, and do not change the facts," Qassem said. "We will not submit to these pressures and we will not change our priorities. Our compass will remain directed towards Israel."
Mikati has said his government is ready to cooperate with Bulgaria in investigating the attack.
Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov on Tuesday thanked the Israeli government for its support with the investigation, saying it had provided "relevant expertise" in identifying false documents used by the alleged attackers. Foreign Affairs Minister Nikolay Mladenov flew to Tel Aviv to discuss the findings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to releasing them on Tuesday. The nationalist Attack and ethnic Turkish MRF party joined the Socialist criticism, saying it was too soon for the rightist government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov to blame Hezbollah because the investigation had not yet concluded. "It is obvious that Bulgaria's government has chosen a political approach and is only repeating the interpretation alleged by Israel on the very next day following the attack, when the investigation had not even started," said the socialist leader.Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2013, 10:02