Hezbollah says bombing charges are Israeli smear campaign

BEIRUT Thu Feb 7, 2013 12:47am IST

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (R) and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov in Sofia February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (R) and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov in Sofia February 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

Related Topics

A statue of Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, is carried in a taxi to a place of worship on the first day of the ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

During Ganesh Chaturthi idols will be taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, and will be immersed in a river or the sea in accordance with Hindu faith.  Slideshow 

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Lebanese Islamist Hezbollah movement dismissed on Wednesday Bulgaria's accusation that it carried out a bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists last year, saying Israel was waging a smear campaign against it.

Deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem said Israel was directing "allegations and incitements and accusations against Hezbollah" because it had failed to defeat it militarily.

Bulgaria said on Tuesday the Iranian-backed, Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah was behind the bombing on a bus in the Black Sea city of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists in July.

The conclusions of the investigation, citing a clear connection to an attack on European Union soil, might open the way for the EU to join the United States in branding Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for action if it emerges that there is solid evidence linking Hezbollah to the attack.

"Chancellor Angela Merkel completely condemns the disgraceful attack in Burgas," her spokesman said. "If there is confirming evidence that Hezbollah is responsible for this detestable attack, there must be consequences."

Qassem said Hezbollah, which fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006 and is now a powerful part of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government, would not change course or be deflected by the charges.

"Israel is leading an international campaign to intimidate people and countries against Hezbollah," he told religious students in southern Beirut.

"All these accusations against Hezbollah will have no effect, and do not change the facts," Qassem said. "We will not submit to these pressures and we will not change our priorities. Our compass will remain directed towards Israel."

Mikati has said his government is ready to cooperate with Bulgaria in investigating the attack.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut and Andreas Rinke in Berlin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pakistan Protests

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Book Talk

Book Talk

Reema Abbasi and a glimpse of Pakistan’s Hindu past  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Fighting goes on near big Ukrainian city, Poroshenko slams Russia   Full Article 

Mideast Conflict

Mideast Conflict

Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke  Full Article 

Iraq Human Rights

Iraq Human Rights

UN debate on Iraq hears of atrocities committed by both sides  Full Article 

Syria War

Syria War

Fighting erupts between Syrian army, rebels on Golan Heights  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage