Ex-Gitmo Prisoner Suspected as Bulgaria Suicide Bomber

Suicide bomb that killed five Israeli tourists may have been work of man extradited, freed by Sweden.


The suicide bomber who blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists Wednesday in Bulgaria is believed to be a former Guantanamo Bay detainee whose charges were dropped after being extradited to Sweden, the Daily Mail reports.

[See photos of Guantanamo Bay]

The suspect, Mehdi Ghezali, is a Swedish citizen who spent two years as a detainee at the United States's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba after being arrested for suspected terrorism at the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. After two years, Ghezali was released by the U.S. government and extradited to Sweden, which declined to press charges. He was arrested in Pakistan again in September of 2009 on suspicion of links to al Qaeda. He was released by Pakistani authorities and returned to Sweden again.

Swedish intellegence agencies contend that the Bulgarian bomber is not Ghezali.

Earlier today, Bulgarian authorities released images of man resembling Ghezali who is believed to have detonated explosives among Israeli tourists in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas. The blast killed five Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver, and the bomber.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly blamed Iran and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Muslim group, for the attack. No group has claimed responsibility, but several reports have surfaced naming 36-year-old Ghezali as the chief suspect.

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"Yesterday's attack in Bulgaria was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," Netanyahu said in a statement. "We'll continue to fight against the terrorists and to exact a heavy price from those who support them."

The security footage shows a lanky, Caucasian man with long dark hair wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a T-shirt and carrying a large backpack. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the backpack held the bomb. The man presented a fake Michigan driver's license, mingled with travelers in the airport, and detonated the bomb as tourists from Tel Aviv boarded buses around 5:30 p.m. local time.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him on Twitter.