Netanyahu Blames Iran for Bulgaria Terror Bombing; 7 Israeli Tourists Slain in Bus Attack
Israel is blaming Iran for a deadly terrorist attack that killed seven Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on Wednesday.
The Guardian reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has placed responsibility for the Burgas bus bombing squarely on Tehran.
“Iran is responsible for the terror attack in Bulgaria,” he said, vowing retaliation. “We will have a strong response against Iranian terror.”
Netanyahu offered no evidence to support his claim of Iranian involvement.
The deadly attack occurred as a convoy of three buses carrying about 200 mostly young Israelis traveling on a Kavei Chufsha tour was traveling from the Burgas airport to the group’s hotel in the Black Sea resort city.
The bomb, which was placed in the trunk of one of the buses, exploded shortly after the convoy left the airport. Some 40 people were on board.
In addition to the seven dead, 30 more were injured, five of them critically.
Initial reports blamed the attack on a suicide bomber. But Israeli officials have ruled that out. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said investigators are focusing on two possibilities; that the bomb was placed on the bus before the tourists boarded, or that the explosives were inside the Israeli’s luggage.
Israeli officials and terrorism experts are drawing parallels between the Burgas bombing and a recently thwarted plot by a Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese man to attack Israeli tourists in Cyprus.
“Based on the modus operandi of Hezbollah and Iranian agencies, including the Revolutionary Guard, I think a clear trademark connects today’s attack with those elements,” Boaz Ganor, director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told The Guardian.
Ganor also referenced a series of terror attacks against Israeli diplomatic targets in India, Georgia and Kenya earlier this year.
“In February, the same groups were identifiable by their trademarks – magnetic bombs stuck to the bottom of diplomatic cars. This same method has not necessarily been used in today’s attack, but we are seeing the same technique of simultaneously planned attacks,” Ganor said.
Again, no evidence was offered that conclusively points to Iran as the perpetrator of Wednesday’s attack.
Tehran supports the Palestinian resistance group Hamas as well as the Lebanese Shi’a militant group Hezbollah– both US-designated terrorist organizations– and is openly hostile towards Israel and does indeed fund anti-Israeli terrorism. Israel is also believed to support or carry out terror attacks against Iran, especially against Iranian nuclear scientists, allegedly in concert with an Iranian terror group called the MEK.
UPDATE: Bulgarian authorities now say that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber carrying fake US identity documents.
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