The latest development in this weeks Bulgarian bus bomb explosion of Israeli tourist bus, is the identification of the Islamic bomber. According to Times of Israel his name is Mehdi Ghezali a devout Muslim, and reportedly a Swedish citizen, with Algerian origins.
Ghezali had been held at the US’s Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba from 2002 to 2004, having previously studied at radical Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He was also reportedly among 12 foreigners captured trying to cross into Afghanistan in 2009.”
Ghezali arrived in Bulgaria five weeks before the bombing and arrived at the airport via taxi, Channel 2 reported. He was also reportedly given the bomb by someone inside the Iranian backed Hezbollah terrorist organization, but no further details were provided.
With a black baseball cap pulled tight over a mop of stringy long hair and a patchy, close-cropped beard, Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali looked more like a Metallica roadie than a disciple of Ayman al-Zawahiri. He addressed the scrum of reporters in a clipped, heavily accented Swedish and accused the American government of wrongly detaining him for three years and “physically and mentally” torturing him. A book about his experiences was in the works; a documentary crew, cobbling together a film about American human rights abuses, had requested an audience; and his legal team was plotting a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld. It was 2004, and Ghezali was a free man.
In late 2001, Ghezali, a Swedish national, had been detained during the battle at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, handed over to the American military, and sent to the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. According to his lawyers, he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although he spoke none of the local languages, Ghezali told his captors, in the midst of the Taliban’s retreat into the mountainous hinterlands of Afghanistan, he had crossed that country’s border with Pakistan to study Islam.
After an intense lobbying effort by Swedish prime minister Göran Persson–and a vague promise that the country’s intelligence services would keep a watchful eye on him–Ghezali was delivered to Sweden (on the
government’s private Gulfstream jet). The Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter noted that Ghezali had achieved “rock star status” upon returning to his homeland, a native victim of America’s rapacious imperialism. And after two-plus years in isolation, the emotionally fragile former prisoner would be happy to discover “that a majority of Swedes were glad that he was home.” Mark Vadasz, head of communications for the Swedish security services told The Miami Herald on Thursday afternoon said they don’t believe the terrorist was Mehdi Ghezali.
The Bulgarian reports posited various versions of how the bomber had detonated the bomb, and the suggestion that the bomber had not intended to die in the blast, but may have wanted to place the bomb on the bus and flee.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gloated publicly on Thursday over the deaths of Israelis in this Islamic terror bombing in Bulgaria, and hinted that Iran was responsible for the attack.