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Updated: February 10, 2011 17:06 IST

Bomb explodes at Bulgarian newspaper office

AP
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Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan attend a joint press conference at the latter's official residence in Tokyo. File photo: AP.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan attend a joint press conference at the latter's official residence in Tokyo. File photo: AP.

The Interior Ministry said the explosion rocked the premises of the Galeria weekly at 5-40 a.m. (0340 GMT) on Thursday. The blast, which occurred on a main street in Sofia, broke window panes and damaged nearby parked cars.

A makeshift bomb exploded on Thursday at the office of a Bulgarian newspaper, causing damages but no injuries, hours before a European Union commissioner was to arrive in the country’s capital.

The Interior Ministry said the explosion rocked the premises of the Galeria weekly at 5-40 a.m. (0340 GMT) on Thursday. The blast, which occurred on a main street in Sofia, broke window panes and damaged nearby parked cars.

The weekly recently published recently wiretapped telephone conversations by leading politicians and officials, including Prime Minister Boiko Borisov. The authenticity of the documents has not been verified so far.

Editor—in—chief Kristina Patrashkova said the blast was “a political, not a criminal act.”

“I am absolutely sure that the blast was aimed at intimidating Galeria. I believe this is a political act,” she said in a TV interview.

The blast occurred just hours before European Union Internal Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom was to visit Sofia.

Ms. Malmstrom is scheduled to check Bulgaria’s readiness to join the border—free Schengen area - a move that some EU members oppose citing insufficient results in fighting organized crime and corruption.

Ivan Kostov, a former prime minister and leader of the right—wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, said the accident has been very well organized to coincide with the arrival of the EU Commissioner.

“The blast was organized by people who have an interest to attack the government in its most vulnerable time,” Mr. Kostov said in parliament.

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