A Pentagon spokesman said Thursday he doesn't know whether the suicide bomber that blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.
Bulgarian media identified the bomber as 36-year-old Swedish-born Mehdi Ghezali and said he'd been held at Guantanamo between 2002 and 2004, the Times of Israel reported. At least seven people -- including five Israelis, the Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber -- died in Wednesday's attack at the airport in the city of Burgas.
“I’m aware of reports that we’re recently seeing out of the region,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little said, according to Politico. “I cannot confirm those reports at this time.”
Little said he "can't rule it out, either," according to The Hill.
"I'm simply saying we don't know at this stage," he said.
Swedish officials have denied the Bulgarian reports, telling the Miami Herald that Ghezali was not the bomber.
"We can confirm that it was not Mehdi Ghezali,” Mark Vadasz of Sweden's security services told the newspaper Thursday.
According to the Herald, Vadasz would not say how Swedish officials knew it was not Ghezali, whether they had seen him since the bombing or knew his current whereabouts.
“We can’t go into more details regarding that part of our operations,” Vadasz said. “But we can definitely confirm that it’s not him.”
Shortly after Wednesday's attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged that "all signs point to Iran" and also blamed the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday the Obama administration is working with Israel and Bulgaria.
"I would note as a general principle that Hezbollah has backed, and Iran has backed, terrorist actions against innocent people in third countries in the past. And we condemn that, as we condemn the heinous assault that took place in Bulgaria and resulted in loss of life," Carney said.