The 21st Century Phenomenon


“An explosion occurred in a passenger’s bus with Israeli citizens at the Burgas Airport,” Mayo of Burgas Dimitri Nikoliv announced for Radio FOCUS on Wednesday 07/16/2012 at about 17:00 local time. According to initial reports at least 7 people were killed and over 20 others were injured, out of 47 passengers in the bus (see – Burgas Bus Bombing). One of the casualties is a local Bulgarian tourist guide. The first stage of the investigation resulted a lot of confusion, contradicting findings and an unclear picture of the procedure and the build up of the attack (see – Burgas Bombing Investigation).

The body of a suspected perpetrator bomber, Initially believed to be filmed walking around the airport for an hour prior to the attack by security cameras on the premises, sustained the most damage in the blast, leading investigators to believe that he set off a bomb located on his person when he boarded the bus. An FBI check of the documents found on the man’s body, including a passport under the name of Jacque Philip Martin identifying him as a Michigan resident, determined that they were counterfeit, according to the report. The address listed on it was a location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that turned out to be a casino. According to FBI agents dispatched to the investigation, the driving license was a genuine driving license issued in Detroit , Michigan, where a large Shiite population is living. only the name and address are faked.

The alleged suspect stayed in the Black Sea resort towns of Ravda and Pomorie before the attack. The Bulgarian authorities said he arrived to the airport with a taxi an hour before the attack and received his explosive device from another person, who met him in the airport. The suicide bomber then waited for the Israelis to enter the buses awaiting them. After they were inside the bus he attached himself to the outer side of one of the buses and the device then went of.

Authorities found out that the suspect tried earlier to rent a car but since his driving license seemed flawed the company refused to rent him a car. the owner of a car hire firm in Pomorie where the bomber reportedly made a failed attempt to hire a car described the man as speaking English with a foreign accent. The car hire firm owner said that the person had short hair, even though his driving licence depicted him with long hair. Sources in investigation said on Friday evening that a long hair wig, probably of the suspected suicide bomber, was found few dozens meters from the scene of the explosion. The 3 kg explosive device was a powerful high quality TNT device packed in a rucksack. The bomb was different from those used normally by suicide bombers, it was not made with nails and steal balls to inflict large-scale destruction.

On Friday 07/20/2012 evening, the Bulgarian police distributed a sketch of the second suspect in the attack. Bulgarian investigators believe the second suspect also uses US faked identity papers under the name “David Jefferson” Reporters have learned, on Sunday 07/22/2012, that the alleged “David Jefferson” was documented by security cameras in the Airport of Varna already by the end of 06/2012. Varna is another coastal resort on the Black Sea about 100 Km North of Burgas and also very popular among Israeli Tourists.

Bulgarian officials were quoted that the bombing was intended to be far more serious. In fact, experts theorize the bomber did not plan to be a suicide bomber, but planned to rest the explosive device on the bus transporting Israelis to their hotel and detonate in transit. Instead, the bomb blew up in the waiting area as the Israelis were boarding. due to mishandling of the explosive device it appears that it detonated prematurely, Bulgarian police sources said, on Sunday 07/22/2012.

Dr. Galina Mileva, who was involved in the post-mortem examination, told BNT television on Sunday that the autopsy on the bomber shows he “had a white face, light eyes, and very thick brown hair”. It was, therefore, not clear if the bomber was wearing a wig, or if this was a different person from the bomber who tried to rent a car in the days before the bombing.

Local Bulgarian Media reported, on Monday 07/23/2012, citing investigators probing the attack, that the suicide bomber spoke decent Russian and had a female companion, with whom he he spent last night before the attack, on 07/17/2012, in Varna. According to Bulgarian detectives he left behind “biological evidence” at the three-star Hotel Perfekt. This woman is also believed to be linked to the possible second suspect , the ‘Supporter’. Varna was, most likely, the forehead base of operation for the perpetrators cell.

* DNA samples of the bombing suspect have been sent to US intelligence services but no match has yet been detected with any of the former Guantanamo prisoners, as previously suggested, the Turkishweekly reported, on Monday 07/23/2012.

* “These are extremely experienced people who have followed strict conspiracy rules,” Boiko Borisov, the Bulgarian prime minister, told reporter on Tuesday 07/24/2012, after meeting John Brennan, a counter-terrorism adviser to US President Barack Obama. “From what we see, they arrived nearly a month beforehand, changed rental cars, and travelled to different cities… and not more than one of the people we are looking for was captured on either security camera,” Borisov said. He declined to give more details on the plotters.

PM Boiko Borisov suggested that an organised group helped to plan and carry out the attack, the attacker, whose bomb was concealed in his backpack, may have entered Bulgaria on a plane from the European Union’s “Schengen” passport-free travel zone. He did not elaborate.“We do not know categorically his identity,” the premier said, adding however: “We know when he arrived, the presumed flight and where it came from”.

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union but is not part of the borderless Schengen travel area formed by 22 of the 27 EU state and does not include Romania either.

Agents in the UK are testing the remnants of the Burgas bomber in order to assert whether he was a British national, the Daily Mail reported Friday 07/27/2012. The agents also took the man’s dental records. According to the Bulgarian Interior Minister  Tsvetan Tsvetanov, on Friday, passport under the name of Jacque Philip Martin was already used in 2007 in Plovdiv, the second largest town in Bulgaria, in 2007. 

Two new computer-generated images of the alleged Burgas Bomber have been prepared with long and short hair, since he used both looks, on Saturday 02/28/2012. 


* A new computer-generated updated image (pic) of the alleged Burgas suicide-bomber has been released, on Wednesday 08/01/2012, by police investigating the attack. Police have based the computer-generated image on the head of the bomber, who is being held in a morgue. 


The attacker’s identity has remained a mystery, with officials now playing down footage released after the attack which showed the suspected bomber as a white man dressed in Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt and a cap.


* Ministry Chief of Staff Kalin Georgiev told Bulgaria’s 24 Hours newspaper in an interview, on Saturday 08/04/2012, that the Burgas attack was plotted abroad, although bomb was assembled locally . The bomb’s components were legally available in any shop both in Bulgaria and abroad, he added. Bulgarian media reported, on Sunday 08/05/2012, that the Burgas bomber had also a second fake ID.  


* Israeli intelligence intercepted a high volume of telephone calls between Lebanon and Burgas, Bulgaria in the months leading up to the Burgas bombing, The New York Times reported Thursday 08/09/2012, citing senior government officials. 


* Bulgarian authorities have released, on Thursday 07/16/2012, a computer-generated image of a third suspect, who used the name Ralph William Rico, suspected accomplice of the Burgas bomber known as Jacque Philip Martin. The Interior Ministry said Thursday that “there is data that the man is related to the terrorist attack at the airport.”The image of a man with short dark hair is accompanied by a photo from a fake driver’s license, also issued in Michigan, USA, found on the bomber, in which the man appears to be wearing a wig. Police originally believed the license belonged to the bomber who was decapitated in the Burgas explosion but say a facial reconstruction proved that was not the case. 


* In a news conference, on Tuesday 02/05/2013, the Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said, unveiling the results of the six-month inquiry in Sofia, two suspects holding Australian and Canadian passport-holders were directly linked to Hezbollah with “obvious links” to Lebanon. “There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects” he said. Officials now believe the device may have been remote-controlled, or accidentally detonated by the bomber. In The Hague, Rob Wainwright , the director of Europol , which co-ordinates policing across the 27 European Union states, said he backed the Bulgarians’ conclusions that Hezbollah was involved. 


* Bulgaria’s interior ministry asked, on 07/25/2013,  for public’s help in finding Maliad Farah(L) and  Hassan al-Haj (R), whose involvement in terror attack which left five Israelis dead remains confidential. 


According to the ministry, the two are Maliad Farah (also known as Hussein Hussein), 33, an Australian citizen, and Hassan al-Haj, 25, a Canadian citizen, both of Lebanese origin, were seen in various sites in Bulgaria between June 28 and July 18, 2012. They used fake IDs to register in hotels and rent cars.  According to the Bulgarian daily ‘24 Hours’ Hizbullah’s military wing transferred about $100,000 to the  two suspects. The identification of the bomberhimself  remained an enigma. 
A day earlier, on 07/24/2013, the EU labeled the military wing of Hizbullah, based on the Burgas findings, a “terror” organization.

* “The identity of the perpetrator of the bomb attack at Burgas airport is firmly established following DNA tests…,” Bulgaria’s security agency and prosecutors’ office said in a joint statement, on 18/07/2014.  “The perpetrator, who used a fake driving license under the name Jacques Felipe Martin, was in reality Mohamad Hassan El Husseini.” the statement said. Mohamad Hassan El Husseini (Pic-L)was born in Lebanon in 1989 and had a dual Lebanese-French citizenship. He used a fake driving license under the name Jacques Felipe Martin .


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