Few Leads in Bulgaria Two Weeks after Deadly Bus Bomb
More than two weeks since a deadly bombing on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, investigators have still not identified the young perpetrator or his suspected accomplices.
Police have the fingerprints and DNA of the bomber, who killed five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver as well as himself in the July 18 attack at Burgas airport, but they have drawn a blank on international databases.
Global policing body Interpol on Thursday released a computer-generated image of what they believe the bomber looked like, showing a young man with fair skin, light-colored eyes, a high forehead and shortish dark brown hair.
"Bulgaria's decision to request all Interpol member countries to publish this computer-generated image of the suspected terrorist bomber demonstrates that they continue to do all they can to identify the person responsible for carrying out this murderous attack," Interpol chief Ronald Noble said in a statement.
The picture contrasts with CCTV footage taken at the airport on the day of the attack, which shows the man with long hair, suggesting he was in disguise and intended to flee after putting his bag in the luggage compartment of the bus -- in other words that he did not intend to die.
This school of thought is further strengthened by the fact that he carried fake identification and was in typical tourist clothes -- in shorts and a T-shirt, wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses and carrying a large backpack and a laptop-type bag -- not the typical get-up for a suicide bomber, experts say.
Lubomir Dimitrov, a retired Bulgarian secret service colonel, told the daily Presa that probably the bomber "did not expect to die" and that the explosion was triggered remotely.
He speculated that the suspect might not have known he was carrying a bomb and instead thought the bag contained drugs.
Burgas prosecutor Kalina Chapkanova was meanwhile quoted by the daily Trud Thursday as saying an investigation was underway in Belgium, Britain and Finland to try to identify the suspect's parents, although she gave no more details.
Another track for investigators is that of possible accomplices.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said a week after the attack that he did not believe the bomber acted alone, calling those behind him "extremely experienced."
They hired different cars and were careful not to be seen together, he said.
Media reports meanwhile said police were looking for a woman believed to have stayed with the bomber in a hotel in Varna on the Black Sea -- reportedly the three-star Hotel Perfekt.
This woman is also believed to be linked to a second man whom police think may have been the bomber's accomplice, Trud said, also citing unnamed investigators.
This second man is believed to have tried to hire a car the day before the attack, and is described by witnesses as Arab-looking with a shaved head and speaking English.
Israel has blamed Iran and Hizbullah, but Tehran has denied any involvement in what was the first attack of its kind in Bulgaria.