Six charged in Bulgaria with financing ‘terrorist’ groups

Five Syrians and a Bulgarian have been charged with financing terrorist groups in the Middle East with 25 million euros ($28.4 million) - adding to haul of 43 people arrested in seven Bulgarian cities and towns on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2019
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Six charged in Bulgaria with financing ‘terrorist’ groups

SOFIA: Five Syrians and a Bulgarian have been charged with financing terrorist groups in the Middle East with 25 million euros ($28.4 million), Bulgaria’s attorney general said Saturday.
“The group transferred at least 25 million euros to terrorist organizations over four years,” Rumiana Arnaudova, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.
They were also charged with “preparing terrorist acts in another country,” she said.
The money was moved about by the “hawala” system, an informal method of payment based on trust that is far more difficult to trace than bank transfers.
Deputy Attorney General Ivan Guechev said such a network was “without precedent in the European Union.”
The money transferring network operates in many European countries and has facilitated the movement of 100-300 million euros per year, according to sources close to the enquiry cited in the Bulgarian 24 Chasa newspaper.
The six charged make up part of a haul of 43 people arrested in seven Bulgarian cities and towns on Friday.
The group also delivered at least 100 vehicles, bought in Bulgaria, to terror groups in Syria, Arnaudova said.


Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

  • The Gomez family gather for funeral of a husband and wife and their three sons
  • They were brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine

COLOMBO: The dark wooden coffins, sitting side by side, attested to one family’s unspeakable grief.
The Gomez family gathered Tuesday to say a final farewell to five loved ones — a son, a daughter-in-law and three young grandsons — brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine.
“All family, all generation, is lost,” said Joseph Gomez, the family patriarch, as tears welled in his eyes. Dozens of family members and neighbors were gathered in his simple home, where the sound of hymns sung by mourners gently wafted in the background and candles flickered beside three coffins. The bodies of two grandsons have yet to be recovered.
Across Sri Lanka, Tuesday was a national day of mourning as families began to lay to rest the more than 320 victims of the bomb blasts that struck a half-dozen churches and hotels in the island nation.
For the Gomez family, the loss was unfathomable: A 33-year-old son, Berlington Joseph, the young man’s 31-year-old wife Chandrika Arumugam, and their three boys, 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and baby Avon, who would have turned 1 next week. A funeral card with a photo of the family clutched in his hands, the elder Gomez wailed: “I can’t bear this on me, I can’t bear this.”
“My eldest son, my eldest son,” he sobbed as he laid bouquets of red roses and brightly colored daisies on the largest coffin. Next to it was a tiny coffin, a photo of little Avon tucked into a wooden frame nearby.
The coffins, draped with long white tassels, were then carried to a Colombo cemetery and lowered into side-by-side graves.
At St. Joseph’s Shrine, dozens of mourners gathered outside, lighting candles and praying in unison for the victims of Sunday’s blasts as heavily armed soldiers stood guard.
At St. Sebastian Church in Negombo, a funeral service was held Tuesday for victims killed there as they worshipped, led by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith. The church was heavily guarded by hundreds of army, air force and police troops, and soldiers were deployed every 15 feet along the streets of the city some 20 miles north of Colombo.
Throughout the country, people observed a three-minute silence for the victims of the near-simultaneous attacks at three churches and three luxury hotels, and three other related blasts, the deadliest violence to strike Sri Lanka in a decade.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed the attack on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known local extremist group, and on Tuesday, the Daesh group also claimed responsibility, though it provided no proof it was involved and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.