SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian officials on Friday arrested two men wanted by Interpol on terrorism charges as they tried to enter the Balkan country through a border crossing with Romania.
Nadezhda Miteva, a spokesperson for the district prosecutor in the northeast city of Ruse, said the men — a Chechen and a Turk — were arrested in two separate incidents attempting to enter Bulgaria with their families.
Authorities identified the Chechen as 47-year-old Mohmad Gadamouri, and said he had tried to enter Bulgaria with his five children, telling border police he was arriving on vacation. A check showed he is wanted for his alleged role in a terrorist group that planned an attack in the Russian republic of Ingushetia back in 2003.
Gadamouri is believed to have been hiding somewhere in Europe ever since, and is also wanted for the alleged illegal trading of arms and toxic substances.
Authorities said the other man, 29-year-old Turk Erkan Polater, was arrested on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization. They did not elaborate on which family members he was travelling with.
Miteva said both men will remain in custody until authorities receive documents authorizing their extradition to their respective home countries. She added that the Chechen held a document issued in Germany certifying his refugee status, while the Turk had a similar paper issued in the Netherlands.
The arrests come just two weeks after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver at a popular vacation resort in Bulgaria. Officials did not link Friday's arrests to the bombing.