Entries in Bulgaria (7)


Man Points Gun at Bulgarian Politician’s Head During Speech

Youtube(SOFIA, Bulgaria) -- A gunman burst onto the stage and pointed a gas pistol at a Bulgarian politician during a televised speech at a party caucus on Saturday.

Ahmed Dogan, 58, who is the leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, struck the attacker before he was able to fire any shots.

A gas pistol is a non-lethal weapon used for self-defense, however when fired at close-range, it can cause life-threatening injuries.

Video of the skirmish shows other delegates wrestling the gunman to the ground, and then kicking and beating him.

The suspect was identified by police as 25-year-old Oktai Enimehmedov, who is an ethnic Turk, according to the BBC.

He was arrested and taken to a local hospital, but it was not known what injuries he may have sustained in the scuffle.

The MRF party represents mostly ethnic Turks and Muslims in Bulgaria, however it was unclear what the gunman’s motive was for the attack.

The attack was the worst on a Bulgarian politician since the 1996 slaying of ex-prime minister Andrei Lukanov.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


International Manhunt Launched for Bomber’s Mystery Accomplice

Interpol(WASHINGTON) -- An international manhunt is on to identify, capture and question a man suspected of being an accomplice in a deadly suicide bombing that targeted Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in July.

Bulgarian police released three images of the man – two computer-generated and one a driver’s license photo – who they describe as possibly being of Middle Eastern origin, standing between approximately 5’7″ and 5’9″ and being able to speak English with an accent, according to a notice posted on Interpol’s website.

The man is sought in connection with the July 18 suicide bombing of an Israeli tour bus at the Burgas airport that claimed the lives of five Israelis as well as the Bulgarian bus driver and injured dozens more. The remains of the actual attacker, who also has not been identified, were discovered among the wreckage. In early August, Bulgarian police released a computer-generated image of what the suicide bomber may have looked like – a young, white male with dark hair.

Days after the attack, Bulgarian officials told ABC News they were on the lookout for several possible suspects, and two weeks ago Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Interior first posted the new computer-generated images of the supposed accomplice on its website.

Within hours of the blast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suspected Iran was behind the bombing and claimed it was only the latest attack in a “global pattern” of Iran-backed aggression targeting Israelis. Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, said the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah had carried out the attack with the help of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. A day after the bombing, The New York Times reported that American officials also believed Hezbollah was responsible and had acted under guidance from Iran.

For its part, Iran “vehemently rejected” the accusation and instead said that Israel was behind the attack, Iran’s semi-official Press TV reported last month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Several Possible Suspects Sought in Bulgaria Suicide Bombing

STR/AFP/Getty Images(BELGRADE, Serbia) -- Bulgarian and international investigators are conducting a manhunt for several possible suspects believed to have helped a suicide bomber carry out a deadly terrorist attack on a bus filled with Israeli tourists at the Black Sea resort of Burgas, Bulgarian airport officials told ABC News on Sunday.

Four days after the deadly blast, investigators in Bulgaria and in several other countries are still struggling to confirm the attacker's identity.

"The key question is from what country the bomber entered Bulgaria.  At the moment we do not have an answer," one official said.  "But what we know now is that he was not acting alone."

The results of an autopsy on Sunday provided some new information on the bomber.

Dr. Galina Mileva, who conducted the autopsy in Burgas, told ABC News in a phone interview that a DNA profile has been given to authorities.  She said "the kamikaze" was definitely not a dark-skinned Arab.

"He had white skin, blue eyes and short thick brown hair," she said.  "He was a male, between 20 and 30 years old, but more analysis needs to be done to determine his exact age and height."

On Friday, Bulgarian Police began distributing a sketch of an Arab-looking suspected accomplice in hopes that the public could help them in the investigation.  So far, they have not broadcast the sketch on national TV.

This suspect appears to be a different man from the one believed to have been the bomber shown in photos and airport video released by Bulgarian authorities.

Afrodita Pavlova, who together with her husband runs Afrodita Tours, said that a man with a suspicious Michigan driver's license -- like the one reportedly found on the dead bomber -- twice came to their office over the course of three days trying to rent a car.

They refused to rent it to him because, she said, he did not look like the person pictured on the licence.  After hearing on the news that the bomber had a fake U.S. driver's license, they contacted the authorities, she said, but told them that after seeing the bomber's pictures, they think this is a different man.

"He was Arab-looking with short, short hair and brown eyes," Pavlova said.

Several Bulgarian media outlets have reported suspicions that the bomber could have had accomplices who detonated the explosives by cellphone.  The Bulgarian daily Standard quoted police sources on Sunday as saying that at least two suspects were believed to have backed up or controled the suicide bomber.

Bulgaria's government has not released any new information over the weekend about its ongoing investigation.  The attack occurred on July 18 shortly after the Israelis boarded a bus outside the airport in Burgas, a popular tourist destination for young Israelis, about 250 miles east of capital Sofia.

Bulgarian investigators said on Friday that they had managed to obtain DNA samples from the fingers of the bomber and were checking databases in an attempt to identify him.  Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told parliament he hoped that would be done in three to four days.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli PM Certain Iran, Hezbollah Bombed Bus in Bulgaria

GALI TIBBON/AFP/GettyImages(JERUSALEM) -- Even as there is no concrete evidence yet that Iran was behind Wednesday's bus bombing in Bulgaria that took the lives of five Israeli tourists, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that the attack was "perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran’s leading terrorist proxy."

Netanyahu made his accusation as the five victims and nearly three dozen wounded survivors were returned home by Israel's air force.

According to the Israeli leader, "This attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hezbollah. This terror campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents."

Assaults on Israelis that have been blamed on Iran were carried out in Georgia, India and Thailand and each time Israel retaliated.

Netanyahu said that Israeli security and intelligence officials are assisting Bulgarian officials in finding those who plotted the bombing and once the perpetrators are exposed, the prime minister said they would pay a heavy price.

For now, it's believed that a long-haired man lingering in the airport in Bulgaria prior to the bus explosion was the suicide bomber.  He was found with a fake driver's license from Michigan.

While Iran has denied any involvement in the bombing, accusing Israel of creating an "anti-Iran atmosphere," Netanyahu stressed, "The world's leading powers should make it clear that Iran is the country that stands behind this terror campaign. Iran must be exposed by the international community as the premiere terrorist-supporting state that it is."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bulgaria Official: Blast Suspect Had Fake Michigan Driver's License

Obtained by ABC News(BURGAS, Bulgaria) -- Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Thursday that an explosion on a bus with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was likely carried out by a suicide bomber who was carrying a fake Michigan driver's license.

The attack occurred Wednesday on a parking lot outside Burgas Airport in Bulgaria.  According to officials, the blast killed seven people, including five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver and the suspected suicide bomber.  Thirty-two others were wounded in the attack.

Novinite Daily quotes Borisov, saying the terrorist attack in Burgas is most likely the work of a suicide bomber.  Borisov said the suspect was carrying a fake Michigan driver's license but authorities haven't confirmed whether the American passport on him was fake as well.

The suspected bomber was described as a Caucasian man with long hair and sports attire.

The Bulgarian foreign minister said the suspected bomber was in the country for four to seven days and was approximately 35 years old, according to multiple Bulgarian media outlets.

"From what we could see on the CCTV video cameras, we think it's a person who was a suicide bomber," Bulgarian officials in Burgas told ABC News.  "The investigation is still going on in close cooperation with the Israelis and Americans."

The man was filmed walking around the airport for an hour prior to the attack by security cameras on the premises, according to the report.  His body sustained the most damage in the blast, leading investigators to believe that he set off a bomb located on his person when he boarded the bus.

Bulgarian police are checking fingerprints with all international databases and analyzing bombers' DNA to see if they can find a match with the suspected suicide attacker.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli PM Points to Iran in Deadly Bulgaria Blast

STR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suspects Iran was behind a deadly explosion aboard a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria today.

“All the indications are that Iran is behind this deadly attack,” the Israeli leader said, just hours after at least three people were killed in a fireball aboard a bus at an airport in the eastern Bulgarian city of Burgas.

Just minutes before Netanyahu’s statement, other Israeli officials said it was unclear if the explosion was the result of a terror attack. But Netanyahu said the new explosion was just the latest in a “consistent pattern” of Iran-backed attacks targeting Israelis around the globe.

Over the weekend a Lebanese man was reportedly arrested in Cyprus for allegedly planning to attack Israeli targets there in a plot that Netanyahu also said was part of “Iranian terrorism.”

In recent months, agents suspected of plotting deadly attacks on behalf of Iran have been arrested in the U.S., Azerbaijan and Thailand.

For its part, Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel for being behind the assassination of several of the country’s top nuclear scientists in recent years.

In his statement, Netanyahu also noted that today marks the 18th anniversary of a bombing attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina — an attack the Israeli government blamed on Iran.

The White House today condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the deadly attack in Bulgaria, but did not comment on who was responsible for the blast that struck a bus of Israeli tourists.

“The United States condemns such attacks on innocent people, especially children, in the strongest possible terms,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “The president's thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and those injured.”

Carney stressed that the U.S. stands with the people of Israel and Bulgaria. “Going forward, the United States will support our friends and allies as they confront terrorism. And of course our commitment to Israel's security remains unshakable,” he said.

Carney confirmed that the president has been briefed on the attack, but did not have any information on who was responsible. “I don't have information yet on anything specific to the incident itself, if in fact it was terrorism and who was responsible for it,” he concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Vampire’ Graves Unearthed Near Black Sea Town

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SOKOPOL, Bulgaria) -- Sokopol, Bulgaria, could soon join the ranks of popular vampire sites, such as Dracula’s Castle in Romania and the Vampire Museum in Paris. Archaeologists excavated two suspected "vampire" graves in the Black Sea town last Sunday, and each 700-year-old skeleton had an iron rod pinned into its chest.

Bozhidar Dimitrov, the director of the National Museum of History in Sofia, told local media that this was common practice in the Middle Ages, as people feared “bad men” would raise from the dead as vampires. The museum is planning a special exhibit around the two skeletons.  

“Every few years we hear of the latest archaeological find, and its attribution to vampire lore,” said a 33-year-old vampire researcher and the current administrator of Voices of the Vampire Community who goes by the name Merticus.

Most of the vampire folklore originated in Slavic countries, so there is a higher prevalence of burial instances in that region.

“Having such a wide assortment of physical records is invaluable to researchers and enthusiasts,” said Merticus. “The Bulgarian and Italian burial claims in the past couple of years add to the mystery and lure of the vampire across all cultures, even for real vampires."

“Real vampires,” Merticus explains, "believe they must consume the blood of other living humans by consensual means in order to maintain their well-being.”

But rather than worrying about iron stakes through the heart, or being hunted at local hangouts, modern vampires say it’s time to stop focusing on folklore.  

“While exhibits are fascinating, I would like to see more responsible scientific interpretation and less knee-jerk ‘put a vampire on it’ claim, even if the Bulgarian burials are in fact directly linked to vampire lore. As a society we are rapidly approaching vampire overload -- on all fronts.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio