Friday, January 19, 2018

The Burgas Bombing: Where Fact and Fiction Meet

Two alleged Hezbollah terrorists went on trial in absentia in Sofia, Bulgaria, this week, for their role in the Burgas Airport bus bombing in July 2012, an attack in which five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver were killed.

Readers of my novel The Burgas Affair are well aware of the details of the bombing. The book is a fictional account of a joint Bulgarian-Israel investigation launched in the wake of the terror attack.

The suspected terrorists now on trial are Meliad Farah and Hassan El Hajj Hassan; they are still at large and believed to be in Lebanon. The two are charged with committing “a terrorist attack and the manslaughter of several people,” prosecutor Krasimir Trenchev told reporters at Bulgaria’s Specialized Criminal Court. They are said to have perpetrated the bombing along with Mohamad Hassan El Husseini, who was killed in the blast. It is not clear if El Husseini planned the attack as a suicide bombing.

“Lax security at the airport at that time facilitated the bomber," Trenchev said.

The Burgas Affair walks a thin line between fact and fiction. The novel is based on the very real bombing at Burgas Airport, but the names of the victim and the investigation itself are totally fictional. Some of the leads investigated in the novel, however, are based on information that was reported in the media at the time. The names of the suspected terrorists in the book are the same as those of the men now on trial. Other than that, any similarities to the actual events is purely coincidental.

More information about the trial is reported in The Times of Israel, The Sofia Globe, The Jerusalem Post, and the Bulgarian News Agency.

Photo credit: Bulgarian Interior Ministry

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