The bodies of five Israelis killed in a suicide bomb attack on a tourist bus at a Bulgarian airport on Wednesday are to be laid to rest in Israel Friday, after arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport shortly after midnight.
IDF soldiers carried the coffins of those killed off the plane and an IDF ceremony was held at the airport. The Interior Ministry on Thursday released the names of the five Israelis killed: Itzik Colangi, 28, Amir Menashe, 28, Elior Price, 26, Maor Harosh, 25, and Kochava Shriki, 44.
Speaking on the attack earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hezbollah carried out Wednesday’s attack with Iranian backing. “We will pursue the attackers and extract a heavy price from those who sent them,” Netanyahu said, adding, “We will continue fighting Iranian terror, we will act against it with great force.”
Also on Thursday, in what seems like the first confirmation of Israel’s suspicions concerning the source and perpetrator of the attack, US officials told the New York Times that the man identified as the suicide bomber was a member of a Hezbollah terrorist cell. One official speaking to the US daily said that current assessments were that the bomber acted “under broad guidance” to strike Israeli targets when possible, and that guidance for the operation was provided by Tehran.
Israeli security officials assess that the modus operandi used in the Bulgaria attack was identical to the one used in recent months in a number of places such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Kenya and Cyprus, where the attacks were foiled. Iranian-backed operatives allegedly carried out the foiled attacks. The only unexpected element in this case was that a suicide bomber was used rather than a bomb.