Soon after the deadly blast near the Burgas airport went off, killing five Israeli tourists and their Muslim bus driver, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly pointed the finger at Hezbollah and Iran. Despite some early conflicting reports, Israel never wavered in its belief that they knew who was behind the attack on European soil, even as some castigated Israel for assuming so. Over six months later, the Bulgarian government has implicated Hezbollah–and, by extension, its patron Iran–for the attack.
The announcement could force the European Union to reconsider whether to designate the group as a terrorist organization and crack down on its extensive fund-raising operations across the continent. That could have wide-reaching repercussions for Europe’s uneasy détente with the group, which is an influential force in Middle East politics, considers Israel an enemy and has extensive links with Iran.
Designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is something the United States and Israel have been urging the European Union to do for some time now with little to show for it. Hezbollah, which raises funds freely in Europe through the group’s so-called non-military wings, would hopefully be financially hamstrung by such a designation.
The question now is whether the European Union will act on it or not.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.