Bulgaria Minister: Bomber image 95% verified

A computer-generated image of the suicide bomber who killed five Israeli tourists and a local bus driver in mid-July, has been verified to a level of 95 percent accuracy, the Bulgarian Interior Minister said on Wednesday according to the Bulgarian Sofia News Agency.

"The badly damaged face of the bomber was reconstructed thanks to modern technology, supplied to Bulgaria by partner services," Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov informed the press, the report said.

"The police did not release any earlier photos of the bomber, who was decapitated in the explosion, as they would have shocked the public," he added, according to the report.

The minister, according to the Sofia report, dismissed earlier media reports that the tourists were killed by a bomb attached to the tour bus, noting the latest information indicating that the suspect was holding the explosives in a bulky backpack.

The lanky, long-haired man in a baseball cap, wearing Bermuda shorts and carrying a bulky backpack had been in Bulgaria for approximately 20 days before the attack said the minister, the report said.

The Bulgarian Interior Ministry had released the suspect's photograph earlier on Wednesday.

Disclosure of the photograph was accompanied by a request to the general public urging anyone with information about the suspect to assist with the investigation by reporting to the nearest police station.

Bulgarian investigators earlier in July had managed to obtain DNA samples from the fingers of the bomber and were checking databases in an attempt to identify him. Bulgaria's prime minister had been personally involved in pushing the investigation to move forward as fast as possible.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in July that Israel was certain that the attack was carried out by Hezbollah. Defense officials said that it was possible that the cell behind the attack crossed into Bulgaria from Turkey or even consisted of local Muslims who were recruited into the Lebanese-based organization.

“It is clear that Hezbollah is behind the attack as part of the series of events that we have seen over the past few weeks and months,” Barak said. “At the same time we do not know who the bomber is but we can tell that he looks European.”

Barak also rejected claims that the attack represented an intelligence failure for Israel. "There is no country whose intelligence gathering capabilities have a wider range than Israel's...I don't think we have anything to apologize for," the defense minister said.


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