White House’s John Brennan in Bulgaria amid bus bombing probe


White House counter terrorism advisor John Brennan has arrived in Bulgaria for consultations with Bulgarian officials about the investigation into the July 18th Burgas bus bombing, the US envoy to Bulgaria said Monday.

Brennan will meet with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov among others on a two-day visit, US Ambassador James Warlick said on Twitter Monday.

Bulgarian authorities have released few details on their investigation into the July 18th attack, which killed seven people, including five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver, and the suspected bomber. The attack targeted a bus of young Israeli tourists who had arrived in the Black Sea resort town’s airport on a charter flight.

An autopsy performed on the suspected  suicide bomber determined that he “had a white face, light eyes, and very thick brown hair,” Galina Mileva, a Bulgarian official involved in the post-mortem, told Bulgarian media Saturday, the AFP reported. Officials earlier released airport video surveillance of the suspected bomber who appears to fit that description, as seen in the above video. They believe his backpack contained  3KG of TNT that caused the explosion, although it wasn’t clear if the bomb was detonated remotely.

DNA from the suspected bomber has been sent to the US and Interpol to try to determine his identity, reports said. Bulgarian authorities have determined he was not a Bulgarian citizen, saying they believe he had been in the country from four to seven days.

Unconfirmed local media reports Monday said the authorities are investigating whether the suspected suicide bomber may have had one or more accomplices, including a female companion with whom, according to one report, he stayed at a Varna hotel, the AFP reported.

A second man, who showed up at a Varna car rental agency last week, was described by the car rental agency owner as having a darker complexion and close-cropped hair, speaking English with an accent, and carrying a fake-looking US drivers license and a wad of 500 Euro bills. The second man reportedly left the agency without renting a car after the agency asked to photocopy his drivers’ license, the car rental agency owner has said.

Meantime, a local Bulgarian media report Monday cited a taxi driver who said he had driven the suspected suicide bomber last week, and described him as speaking decent Russian, the AFP report said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday that Israeli authorities are certain that Hezbollah perpetrated the attack, acting as a proxy, he said, for its chief sponsor Iran. US officials said last week they think the attack fit the pattern of Hezbollah.


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