At least seven people were killed in a suicide bombing attack, six of them Israeli tourists one of them the Bulgarian bus driver, and an additional 32 wounded, a senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry told Haaretz.
According to initial information, the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and not a charge placed in the bus’s luggage compartment as initially assumed. According to reports this morning, the bomber was a Caucasian male with long hair, dressed in sports attire travelling on a fake US passport issued in Michigan.
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said his countries security services had reviewed airport security footage taken prior to the blast and were able to spot the man scouting the area around the buses waiting for the Israeli tourists, for over an hour.
The bomb destroyed the bus at the airport in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas, 250 miles east of the capital Sofia, where the Israelis had just arrived on a charter flight from Tel Aviv.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion immediately fell upon Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. “All signs point to Iran,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said just hours after the attack. ”Just in the past few months, we have seen attempts by Iran to harm Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and more. This is an Iranian terror attack that is spreading across the world. Israel will react forcefully to Iran’s terror,” the Israeli PM added.
Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, said Hezbollah was the direct perpetrator, under Iran’s auspices. Barak noted that the attack resembled several recent attempted attacks on Israeli targets in India, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Kenya and Cyprus. He added that he did not think there had been any specific prior information that the attack was imminent.
World leaders after the attack yesterday quickly spoke out. Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the bombing and offered his condolences to those affected and US President Barack Obama called for justice, describing the attack as, “barbaric” and “completely outrageous.”
The blast came on the 18th anniversary of a 1994 bomb attack on the headquarters of Argentina’s main Jewish organisation by a Hezbollah suicide bomber, which killed 85 people, believed by Argentine prosecutors to have been carried out by a Hezbollah suicide bomber.