site.btaUPDATED Deputy Prosecutor General Sarafov: Incident with Prosecutor General Geshev Was Assassination Attempt
Deputy Prosecutor General Borislav Sarafov, who is Head of the National Investigation Service, told reporters on Monday that Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev had been targeted for assassination earlier Monday.
Sarafov, who spoke around 100 metres away from the scene, stressed that the incident was not an intimidation but an assassination attempt, and the fact that no one got hurt happened only by chance.
Sarafov said that around 11:30 a.m. on Monday, the Prosecutor General was on his way to Sofia, when an explosion took place on a very sharp curve approached at a slower speed. The blast was huge, eyewitnesses said the fire was 4-5 meters high, Sarafov said. The explosive device was planted in the middle of the curve where a vehicle has to slow down. He said the explosion left a crater 30-40 centimetres deep and nearly 3 metres wide. It was adjacent to the roadway, next to the verge. The blast had clearly been directed towards the road and the passing cars.
The blast had a TNT equivalent of no less than 3 kilograms, according to initial expert opinions. Multiple fragments were scattered towards the opposite trees. The explosive device was clearly intended to kill. It was not meant to intimidate, the deputy attorney general said.
The metal pellets that were found lodged in the trees are the size of a human fingernail, the Deputy Prosecutor General said. A search for perpetrators is underway, involving tracking dogs. Marks apparently left by the perpetrators were found at the scene. This was a professionally prepared assassination attempt, Sarafov said, adding it was a fluke that the attorney general, his family and a number of other people passing through the area were intact.
Criminal proceedings have been instituted for an act of terrorism, Sarafov said. The case is being treated extremely seriously. A search for detonators and fragments is underway. "In a few hours we will know the chemical composition of the explosive device from the Specialized Counter-Terrorism Unit," Sarafov said. "The fragments were set not just to explode but to kill."
No theories are ruled out, the perpetrators were most likely nearby and could see the road - there is no other way to time the blast, Sarafov said. The bomb went off the moment the Prosecutor General's vehicle aligned with the site of the planted bomb and the blast threw the vehicle to the left.
Answering a question, he said the routes chosen by the National Service for Protection are largely secret, there always are main and backup routes. It will have to be found out if anyone knew about this route and if explosive devices had been planted on all possible routes.
Chief Commissioner Atanas Ilkov, Head of the General Directorate National Police, would not say if the route had been coordinated with the Interior Ministry's Regional Directorate.
The Prosecutor General personifies the prosecution service, this is not an attack on Ivan Geshev but on the Prosecutor General, said Sarafov. He declined to say if there were suspects.
Asked if Geshev will cancel his visit to Turkiye, Sarafov said he was not authorized to talk about the Prosecutor General's plans.