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.


Russia warns Belarus will pay price for contractors’ arrests

Updated 05 August 2020

Russia warns Belarus will pay price for contractors’ arrests

  • Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said that the Belarusian leadership has turned bilateral ties into “small change in the election campaign”
  • Medvedev described the arrested contractors as part of a “simple political technology — to create an enemy image and to achieve a political result using that enemy image”

MOSCOW: Russia’s security chief described the arrest of 33 Russian private military contractors in Belarus as a presidential campaign stunt and warned Wednesday that it would have grave consequences for ties between the two neighbors and allies.
Authorities arrested the Russian contractors outside the capital of Minsk last week on charges of planning to stage mass riots, amid an upsurge of opposition protests ahead of the Sunday election — in which Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is seeking a sixth term.
Russia has demanded the release of the contractors for a private firm, saying they only were in Belarus because they missed a connecting flight to another country. The government in Minsk has further irked Moscow by raising the possibility that some of the contractors could be handed over to Ukraine, which wants them on charges of fighting alongside Russia-backed separatists.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, sharply raised the stakes in the dispute Wednesday, saying that the Belarusian leadership has turned bilateral ties into “small change in the election campaign.”
Without mentioning Lukashenko by name, Medvedev described the arrested contractors as part of a “simple political technology — to create an enemy image and to achieve a political result using that enemy image.”
“It’s not only offensive, it’s very sad,” said Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president in 2008-2012 and then as prime minister for the next eight years, before becoming No. 2 in the Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin. “And it will entail sad consequences, too.”
Throughout his 26 years in office, the authoritarian Lukashenko has relied on Russian subsidies and loans to shore up his nation’s Soviet-style economy but fiercely resisted Moscow’s push for control over Belarus’s economic assets.
The Kremlin turned the heat up on the Belarusian president earlier this year by withdrawing some of the subsidies and warning the government it would have to accept closer economic and political integration to continue receiving Russian energy at a discount.
Lukashenko denounced Moscow’s position as part of Russia’s alleged efforts to deprive Belarus of its independence.
The 65-year-old president alleged in a state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday that another group of “militants” had been sent to southern Belarus, but gave no details. He warned Moscow against trying to fuel tensions in his country, saying that the instability could spread to Russia.
In a move certain to anger the Kremlin even more, Lukashenko had a phone call Wednesday with the president of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked for Belarus to hand over 28 of the arrested Russians so they can be prosecuted for allegedly fighting alongside Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Belarusian authorities claimed the arrested contractors worked for the Wagner company. The private military firm is linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman who was indicted in the United States for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Wagner has allegedly deployed hundreds of military contractors to eastern Ukraine, Syria and Libya.