Bulgaria bus bomber may have had accomplice: ministry

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 16, 2012 10:44 AM
Bulgaria bus bomber may have had accomplice: ministry

SOFIA (Reuters) - A suicide bomber who killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria may have had an accomplice who carried a fake U.S. driving licence, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

Officials handed out two computer-generated images of a white, unshaven man, aged 25-30, who they said have been linked to the attack on a bus in Burgas airport on July 18.

Investigators are still trying to identify the bomber who also killed a Bulgarian driver and wounded more than 30 people in the blast at the popular gateway for tourists visiting the country's Black Sea coast.

Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah of being behind the bombing. Iran has denied the charge and accused Israel of plotting and carrying out the attack.

The computer images showed a man with dark eyes, cropped black hair and chubby cheeks, with and without glasses.

The ministry also published a copy of what it said was a fake driving licence, purportedly issued by the U.S. state of Michigan.

The licence carried a picture of a bespectacled man and identified him as Ralph William Rico, 175 cm tall and born on June 19, 1987.

"There is evidence that the man from the picture has been presenting himself with a false driving license from Michigan, USA. He may have also used other names," the ministry said in a statement, appealing to citizens who had seen him to contact the police.

"The images circulated today are of a suspected accomplice in the attack," an interior ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.

Earlier this month, Bulgarian police and Interpol circulated a computer image of the suicide bomber constructed from his badly damaged face, showing a man aged about 30, with swept-back black hair and dark eyes.

Almost a month after the attack, investigators have yet to establish his nationality, when and how he entered Bulgaria and who supported him.

So far, Sofia has said the attacker was a foreigner who was backed up by a well-organized group that helped him plan and carry out the blast.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Andrew Heavens)