Operation Radwan: The Hezbollah - al Qods Connection to the Burgas Terror Bombing
Burgas, Bulgaria tourist bus bombing July 18, 2013
Today’s news that Bulgaria’s investigation of the July 18, 2012 Burgas terror bombing of an Israeli tourist bus concluded that two agents of Hezbollah, one carrying an Australian passport and the other a Canadian one, were the perpetrators. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters in Sofia, "We have established that two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah. There is information that shows financing and the connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects."
When the terror bombing occurred all Israel grieved for the loss of five tourists and more than 30 others injured in the Burgas attack. The Bulgarian tour bus driver was the sixth victim in the terror bombing.
Why the delay of nearly eight months in concluding the Bulgarian investigations? Was it that Bulgaria needed overwhelming forensic evidence of who sent the perpetrators when Israeli officials concluded it was obvious? Or was it the queasiness of the Bulgarian government about finally listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, only to face possible future terror attacks in the EU? The US had listed Hezbollah as a terrorist group in 2004, as did The Netherlands. Prime Minister Netanyahu drew attention to the dilemma that now faces the EU in the wake of the Bulgarian disclosures:
The attack in Burgas was an attack on European land against a member of the European Union. We hope the Europeans learn the proper conclusions from this about the true character of Hezbollah.
President Barak Obama’s nominee for Director of Central Intelligence, John Brennan, suggested that European countries take "proactive action" to uncover Hezbollah’s infrastructure, financing and operational networks in Europe.
Jeff Dunetz on the Yid with Lid blog posted this comment:
Therefore the spotlight is on Europe, will they continue to appease thus siring the next round of people who believe terrorism is a legitimate form of political expression? Or will they stand up and be counted amongst the nations who believe terror is abhorrent?
When the July 2012 attack occurred, Israeli PM Netanyahu emphatically made clear who might have perpetrated this dastardly act:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed the finger at Iran, saying it has been behind a string of recent attempted attacks on Israelis in Thailand, India and Georgia, among others.
"All the signs (are) leading to Iran" he said "This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react firmly to it."
At the time the Simon Wiesenthal Center put out a statement reminding the world media that July 18th was the 18th anniversary of the horrific bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community building in Buenos Aires perpetrated by the late Imad Mughniyeh , Hezbollah terrorist mastermind. Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 when he stepped into his Mitsubishi Pajero which promptly blew up. Mughniyeh was attending an event at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Republic takeover in 1979. The allegation was that Mossad did it.
Mughniyeh’s assassination precipitated Operation Radwan by Hezbollah and Iran’s Qods Force. Mathew Levitt in a January 2013 Washington Institute for Near East Policy paper on Hizbollah and the Iran’s Qods Force outlined the scope of Operation Radwan:
Operation Radwan (named for Mughniyeh, who was also known as Hajj Radwan) experienced a series of setbacks. These ultimately led Iran and Hezbollah to reassess how they would prosecute, both separately and together, a three-tiered shadow war targeting Israeli, Jewish, American, and sometimes British interests worldwide.
Levitt noted the suspicions of Israeli security officials as to who were the likely perpetrators of the Burgas terror bombing:
From the outset, Israeli officials publicly insisted—and anonymous American and British officials confirmed—that Lebanese Hezbollah was behind the attack. “We are confident without any doubt,” Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak told CNN, “about the responsibility of Hezbollah [for] the actual execution of the operation—preparation, planning and execution.” Nor, officials added, was the attack the work of rogue Hezbollah gunmen. “Nobody pushes the button in Burgas without Nasrallah’s approval,” explained an Israeli official close to the investigation.
Mughniyeh was not alone in fomenting that heinous terrorist act in Buenos Aires in 1994. Orchestrating the operation was the current Iranian Defense Minister, Ahmad Vahidi. Note what the Washington Timessaid about him:
Interpol, the international police agency based in Lyon, France, placed Mr. Vahidi and four other Iranian officials on its most-wanted list in 2007 at the request of Argentine prosecutors, who say the men played a role in planning the July 1994 attack on the seven-story community center in Buenos Aires.
The bombing, which killed 85 people, is thought to have been carried out by members of Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia and political party with close links to Iran.
Kenneth Katzman, a senior analyst on Iraq and Iran at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), said that Mr. Vahidi is also suspected of having played a role in a 1996 attack on the U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia known as Khobar Towers.
Incredulously, Iran reached an agreement in late January 2013 with the troubled Argentine government of President Kristina Fernandez. The agreement covers holding a South African-style Truth Commission Hearing instead of prosecuting Hezbollah and Iranian perpetrators of the 1994 AMIA blast. Argentina’s Jewish community rejected this absurd default to terrorism by Ms. Fernandez after nearly 12 years of investigations detailing the Hezbollah - Qods Force terror plot.
The CRS issued a report in December 2012 on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The report revealed that Burgas had become the European base for launching Iranian terror operations. Burgas had witnessed a spurt in Israeli tourism on the Bulgarian shores of the Black Sea . Turkey had become an unfriendly vacation destination in the wake of the Mavi Marmara Gaza Flotilla incident and demands by the AKP regime of PM Erdogan for prosecution in absentia of IDF military commanders. With foiled terror incidents in Cyprus, Israelis opted for what they assumed would be a safer vacation environment in Burgas. Little did they realize that Hezbollah and the Qods Force already were already fomenting plans to hit unwary Israeli tourists on July 18, 2012. WINEP analyst Levitt noted the significance of the Burgas terror attack:
As the attack in Burgas demonstrated, terrorists learn from their mistakes, evolve, and adapt, and with sufficient determination they may carry out successful attacks even after a long string of failures.