Austin Bay
February 2013 has been a very bad month for Iranian-sponsored terrorism.

On Feb. 5, the government of Bulgaria struck the clerical regime a hard blow with the truth stick when it released its long-awaited official report on the July 18, 2012, terror attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort town of Burgas. In that attack, a terrorist bomb killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and the terrorist bomb-carrier, as well. The bomb injured another 32 people. The Bulgarian government called the attack a suicide bombing.

The Israeli government quickly blamed Lebanese Hezbollah for the murders and said Iran was behind the attack. Iran denied the Israeli accusation.

In the intervening seven months, Bulgarian investigators carefully collected and analyzed crime scene evidence and accessed surveillance data collected by several foreign intelligence and police agencies. The Bulgarians coolly solicited expert advice from several foreign police agencies. EUROPOL, the European Union's police coordination agency for cross-border investigations and criminal intelligence, reviewed the Bulgarian analysis. EUROPOL's director praised the report's thoroughness and professionalism.

The bottom line: The Bulgarian investigation supports the Israeli government's conclusion that Lebanese Hezbollah operatives conducted the attack.

After Bulgaria released the report, an indignant Iran withdrew its ambassador from Sofia. Why? When it comes to mayhem, murder and war, everyone knows Lebanese Hezbollah functions as an arm of Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards' Al Quds special operations force. Iran finances, trains, supplies and, yes, operationally directs Lebanese Hezbollah's terror operations, guerrilla and militia operations, and episodic rocket war with Israel.

The report linked the dead bomber to two men who investigators concluded coordinated the operation. Both of the coordinators are members of Hezbollah's militant wing. Investigators discovered substantial evidence that Hezbollah financed the terror operation. They also found evidence that the explosive device was rigged for remote-controlled detonation and may have been accidentally detonated by the bomber after he planted it on the bus. In other words, the evidence indicated that the attack was not a suicide bombing. There is a more cynical interpretation: One of the two still-living members of the terror cell detonated the bomb and sacrificed his own operative.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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