Australian, Canadian to Be Tried Over Killing Israelis in Bulgarian Bus Bomb

SOFIA (Reuters) -
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev review a honor guard as Rivlin's arrives for a visit in Sofia, Bulgaria on July 7, 2016. photo by Haim Zach/GPO *** Local Caption *** נשיא המדינה ראובן ריבלין בביקור ממלכתי בסופיה בולגיה צילום חיים צח / לע"מ photo by Haim Zach / GPO
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (R) and Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev review a honor guard as Rivlin arrives for a visit in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 7. (Haim Zach/GPO)

An Australian and a Canadian, both of Lebanese origin, will be tried in absentia on charges of being accomplices in a bombing that killed five Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport in 2012, prosecutors said on Friday.

Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan have both been charged with terrorism, prosecutors said – the first suspects to be indicted in the four years since the attack.

The Israeli tourists had arrived in the Black Sea city of Burgas on a charter flight and were in the bus in the airport car park when the blast tore through the vehicle, also killing the Bulgarian driver and wounding more than 30 people.

Bulgarian authorities blamed Lebanese Shiite Muslim terror group Hizbullah for the attack, an accusation dismissed by Hizbullah.

“The indictment has been filed with the Specialised Criminal Court. The two men, for whom a red notice has been issued by Interpol, are charged with terrorism,” the spokeswoman for the prosecutors’ office, Rumiana Arnaudova, said.

The trial will be held in absentia as the whereabouts of Farah, 35, and Hassan, 28 – respectively Australian and Canadian citizens of Lebanese origin – remain unknown, she added.

In 2013, a senior Bulgarian official said they were believed to be in Lebanon.

Bulgarian authorities have identified the bomber as Mohamad Hassan El Husseini, a dual Lebanese-French citizen whom they said was killed in the attack.