Two found guilty over bombing of bus in Bulgaria carrying Israelis
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Two found guilty over bombing of bus in Bulgaria carrying Israelis

Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan were sentenced in absentia to life in prison by a Sofia judge this week

Burgas Airport control tower where the bombing took place (Wikipedia/ Author	Christian Rasmussen/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))
Burgas Airport control tower where the bombing took place (Wikipedia/ Author Christian Rasmussen/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))

Two men being tried in absentia for the bomb attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists through Bulgaria in 2012 have been found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan were charged in 2016 with helping the bomber, who died in the attack on the bus at Burgas Airport, as it waited to take the tourists to the Black Sea. It killed five Israelis including a pregnant woman, as well as the Bulgarian driver, and injured another 35. Both men escaped.

In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia this week Judge Adelina Ivanova cast judgement on what was the deadliest attack against Israelis abroad since 2004. It was perpetrated by Franco-Lebanese national Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, 23, who detonated his backpack as he loaded it into the bus. He was identified using DNA analysis.

Prosecutors have said there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Lebanon-based anti-Israel militia Hezbollah was behind the attack, citing the three men’s Lebanese descent, the nature of the explosive, the planning and coordination required, and the fact that the perpetrators’ fake IDs were printed at a university in Lebanon.

In July of this year, on the anniversary of the Burgas attack, more than 250 lawmakers from across Europe, including the UK, added their names to a call from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Transatlantic Institute urging the EU to proscribe all branches of the Hezbollah organisation, not just its armed wing.

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