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Was Bulgaria Bomber a Gitmo Releasee and Liberal Hero?

The Times of Israel says that Bulgarian media have identified the homicide bomber who blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria as Mehdi Ghezali. That identification is now being disputed, but let’s hold on that for a moment. Who is (or was) Mehdi Ghezali.

Breitbart’s Big Peace has the story. You should read it all, but briefly, Mehdi Ghezali is an Islamic radical who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay from 2002 to 2004. He is a Swedish citizen, and his detention became a cause celebre on the left. Swedish government officials visited him frequently, according to Big Peace, while he was at Gitmo, and Swedish newspapers campaigned for his release. He was the star of a documentary film called Gitmo–The New Rules of War. In July 2004, Ghezali was released to Swedish custody. Viewed as a hero in his home country, he was flown home by the Swedish Air Force on a Gulfstream IV jet.

Ghezali turned up in Pakistan in September 2009, arrested because he had ties to al Qaeda. He was called “a very dangerous man” by a Pakistani police chief, but a leading Swedish newspaper described his contacts with a “Muslim revivalist movement” as “harmless.” Again, Ghezali was released into Swedish custody. This time he was escorted home by the Swedish Ambassador.

So Ghezali may or may not be the Burgas homicide bomber. Apart from the Bulgarian newspaper report, these photographs suggest that Ghezali may indeed be the culprit. This is Mehdi Ghezali, on the right:

And here is the homicide bomber as he appeared on closed circuit television at the Burgas airport:

Is that a picture of Ghezali? It sure looks like him; admittedly, the resemblance is mostly in the hair, the tall, skinny frame and the baseball cap. The photos can’t be termed definitive. But I would say that if the guy on CCTV isn’t Mehdi Ghezali, he is doing a remarkably good imitation.

In the coming days this will be sorted out. If Ghezali has been wrongly implicated, he will no doubt surface within the next 24 hours to object to the claim that he is a mass murderer. He will tell us that he is 1) alive and well, not blown up in Bulgaria, and 2) reporting to work in some capacity or other in Stockholm, or wherever. However–this is sheer guess and speculation–I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Ghezali isn’t going to be heard from.

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