Bulgaria names two suspected accomplices in Burgas bus bombing

SOFIA Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:23am EDT

1 of 3. Buses that were damaged in a bomb blast on Wednesday are seen outside Burgas Airport, about 400km (248miles) east of Sofia July 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Interior Ministry/Handout

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria named a citizen of Canada and one of Australia as suspects in a bombing on a bus that killed five Israelis and their driver in Burgas last year and that authorities say was the work of Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.

NATO ally Bulgaria, a European Union member since 2007, has extended its investigation to November after questioning more than 150 people and reconstructing the attack in the Black Sea resort last July that also wounded more than 30.

The EU agreed this week to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist over its involvement in the Burgas attack as well as the conflict in Syria.

Hezbollah denies any involvement.

The ministry identified the two suspects as 32-year-old Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, an Australian citizen, and 25-year-old Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian citizen, both of Lebanese origin.

It issued photographs of the two men and asked the public for any information on their whereabouts.

"Bulgarian authorities are asking the public for cooperation over the two people, who are believed to be involved in the terrorist attack," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the suspects were sighted in several Bulgarian cities between June 28 and July 18 last year.

The bomber, who died in the attack, has not been identified although investigators have said they have found DNA samples from his fingers.

Speaking on Monday, Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin said Bulgaria had received a report from the United States holding additional data for a link between the suspected perpetrators and Hezbollah.

(Writing by Radu Marinas; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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