Bulgaria probes Daesh-inspired school student planning bomb attack

Bulgarian prosecutors on Saturday said they had opened a probe into a bomb attack being planned by a student from an elite high school who was inspired by Daesh. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 08 June 2019

Bulgaria probes Daesh-inspired school student planning bomb attack

  • The suspect had managed to make explosives from commonly accessed materials and that too in the space of a week
  • The student has been released after arrest and is receiving counselling

SOFIA: Bulgarian prosecutors on Saturday said they had opened a probe into a bomb attack being planned by a student from an elite high school who was inspired by Daesh.
The student was “extremely intelligent” and lived in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, deputy prosecutor general Ivan Gueshev said, adding that this was the first investigation of its kind in the country.
“Several home-made explosive devices were found at his home, including a bomb made with pipes and electric wires (of a type) often used in the United States,” he said.
“Furthermore, 14.5 kilogrammes (32 pounds) of the explosive used in attacks in Belgium and France, were found in a plastic container surrounded by nails to cause maximum destruction,” he added.
Gueshev did not identify the explosive but said it was the same as the one used in a 2012 attack on Israeli tourists at the airport in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Burgas, in which six people died and more than 30 were injured.
“This appears to be a classic case of the recruitment and radicalization of a minor” on the Internet, he said.
A Daesh flag was also found in a room which was serving as the workshop.
The suspect had managed to make explosives from commonly accessed materials and that too in the space of a week, Gueshev said.
He did not say if the attack targeted Plovdiv, which is currently the European capital of culture and attracts many tourists.
The student has been released after arrest and is receiving counselling.
Bulgaria, which neighbors Turkey, is used by many extremists to travel and return from the Middle East but no national has so far been caught for planning attacks on home soil.


US, Taliban resume peace talks after three-month lull

Updated 08 December 2019

US, Taliban resume peace talks after three-month lull

  • Move to end decades-old conflict plaguing Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban and the US restarted their formal peace negotiations on Saturday, the first such initiative of its kind since President Donald Trump’s decision to call off the talks in early September, an American official privy to the developments told Arab News.

Trump abandoned the talks after 12 people, including a US soldier, were killed by a Taliban bomb attack in Kabul.

“The US rejoined talks today in Doha. The focus of the discussions will be reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a cease-fire,” the official said.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen also confirmed that the talks had been resumed.

In a tweet, he added that the head of the Taliban’s political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, represented the insurgents in the negotiations.

“The talks started from where they were stopped. We discussed signing of the agreement. Talks will continue tomorrow (Sunday),” he said.

Anas Haqqani, brother of the Taliban’s deputy chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, has joined the talks as a member of the negotiating team. Anas was one of three Taliban leaders freed in a prisoner swap on Nov. 19.

The peace talks are aimed at striking a deal with the Taliban to allow US and foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for the insurgents’ guarantee to provide security.

Earlier on Wednesday, the State Department had said that US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, would be discussing the next steps with the Taliban for the intra-Afghan negotiations and “a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a cease-fire.”

It followed Khalilzad’s meetings with Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and several political leaders in Kabul on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the presidential palace issued a statement saying that the meeting would focus on “the cease-fire and Taliban hideouts outside the country.”

President Ghani told Khalilzad that both issues should be taken seriously to take the peace process forward.

The Taliban and the US had finalized the peace agreement in August — at the conclusion of the ninth round of talks –but the signing of the deal was blocked after Trump’s abrupt decision to call off the negotiations.

However, in conversation with American troops at the Bagram Air Base last week, Trump said that the Taliban wanted a deal and had also agreed to a cease-fire.