Bulgaria Police deport Hamas delegation, ‘persona non gratae’

The Police raid on the residences of visiting Hamas delegation was allegedly prompted by Israeli, British & US political pressure.

A Bulgarian gov’t spokesperson denies reports of meeting with Hamas representatives, reporting that the Palestinians were in Sofia on “private visitation.”



Bulgarian security forces on Friday raided the temporary residences of a visiting Hamas delegation in Sofia, and then expelled the officials from the country, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

Bulgarian PoliceMa’an quoted a statement released by Hamas’ Change and Reform parliamentary list as saying the that the Bulgarian move was at least in part prompted by Israeli, US and British pressure.On Thursday, the Bulgarian government flatly rejected reports that meetings between official representatives of the government and Hamas officials took place.

Ismail al-Ashkar, head of the Hamas parliamentary list, led the delegation. Hamas legislators Salah Bardaweel and Mushir al-Masri, who is also a spokesman for the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip, accompanied him.

Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vessela Tcherneva told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that “Bulgaria is part of the EU politics as listing Hamas as a terror organization.”

She added that the Hamas representatives are “on a private visitation of an NGO” in Sofia.

Khaled Abu Toameh and Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.

View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=303392