Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that a suspect in the bombing of a Bulgarian tourist bus was a Canadian who held dual citizenship. An Bulgarian investigation revealed
that besides the bomber, there were two others, one entering the country with a Canadian, the other with an Austrian passport.
Earlier Tuesday, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, in the first major announcement in the investigation, said one of the suspects entered the country with a Canadian passport and another got in with an Australian passport.
"We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah," Tsvetanov said after a meeting of Bulgaria's National Security Council. "We expect the government of Lebanon to assist in the further investigation."
According to the National Post
, the suspect emigrated with his family from Lebanon to British Columbia and became a Canadian citizen about ten years ago. When his parents divorced he returned to Lebanon with his mother. At the time he was 12 years old.
After emigrating from Lebanon with his family and settling in British Columbia, the suspect became a naturalized Canadian citizen a decade ago. But when his parents divorced, he left Vancouver and returned with his mother to Lebanon at age 12.
Since then, he has returned to Canada only twice to visit family, but he still carried a Canadian passport — which he allegedly used to enter Bulgaria on June 28, 2012 to help orchestrate the bombing on behalf of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbolla
John Baird said:
"I can confirm that the individual in question is a dual national who resides in Lebanon. I couldn't even tell you the last time this person was in Canada."
The attack on the tour bus, which carried Israeli youth, occurred on July 18, 2012 at the Black Sea resort town Burga, located about 400 km east of Bulgaria's capital. The bomb attack killed six people and injured at least 32.
At the time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it an Iranian terror attack and promised a tough response. US President Barack Obama condemned it as a barbaric terrorist attack.
While, according to USA Today,
Israel was quick to plan Iran, Bulgarians took a more cautious approach. No group took responsibility immediately for the attack.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, after being briefed by his Bulgarian counterpart, said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed on the bus. He said seven people died, but by Wednesday night the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry had placed the death toll at six and the number of wounded at 32. Bulgarian leaders, including the president, rushed to the site, while the Foreign Ministry said authorities were operating under the theory the blast was a terrorist attack.
No group immediately claimed responsibility. But Israelis often have been targeted outside their country, and Wednesday's attack coincided with the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that killed 85 people.
The confirmation that one of the suspects holds dual Canadian citizenship, once again, raises the question of the tens of thousands of naturalized Canadians that hold dual citizenship. Many of them have little or no connection to Canada and their dual citizenship is often called citizenship of convenience.
Canadian law has provisions
that permit dual citizenship, where individuals can be citizens of another country, but still be recognized as Canadian citizens.
Earlier this month, Algeria claimed that a Canadian citizen planned the attack that took western hostages in the desert. It would appear that in both cases individuals have been recruited by terror organizations that hold Canadian passport for ease of travel.