When a terror attack took place on a bus-load of newly arrived Israeli holiday-makers in Bulgaria last July, some of the BBC reporting on the subject was fairly dismissive of Israeli assessments of the involvement of the Iranian-backed terrorist organisation Hizballah. Yolande Knell wrote at the time:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to point the finger at Israel’s arch-enemy. He also claimed this was the latest in a series of Iranian attempts to harm Israelis and Jews overseas – in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other locations.
Other Israeli officials have made specific links to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shia militant group based in Lebanon.”
Six months on, Bulgaria has announced that indeed the Iranian proxy Hizballah was behind the attack. Much of the BBC’s coverage of that has disappeared pretty quickly from both the European and Middle East pages on the BBC News website, but it included a February 5th article entitled “Hezbollah linked to Burgas bus bombing in Bulgaria”, an interview from the same date with a member of Europol, another article from the same date entitled “Netanyahu: Hezbollah planning ‘global terror attacks’ ” and another filmed report from the same day under the title “Netanyahu: ‘Place the blame where it is deserved’ “.
On February 6th, the BBC ran a report entitled “Hezbollah hits out after Bulgaria bus bomb report” in which it devoted considerable space to the denials of involvement coming from the organisation’s deputy leader.
However, even after the announcement by the Bulgarian officials and despite the fact that five civilian holiday-makers and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed and around 30 people injured in what was obviously a terror attack, the BBC still insists upon using the word ‘militants’ in all the above reports from February 5th.