Attack on Israeli tourists kills six in Bulgaria
Attack on Israeli tourists kills six in Bulgaria
See video from Bulgarian broadcast here: www.dnevnik.bg/video/2012/07/19/1868683_video_vzrivut_na_leti...
An explosion ripped through a bus carrying Israeli holiday-makers in Bulgaria and killed at least six people on Wednesday in an attack the government in Israel blamed on arch foe Iran.
More than 30 people were wounded in the attack against tourists headed for Bulgarian Black Sea resorts that also left two nearby buses in flames.
described how panicked passengers jumped from bus windows and bodies
lay strewn on the ground with their clothes torn off as ambulance sirens
wailed and black smoke rose over Sarafovo airport in Burgas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
whose government said it had been told the death toll was seven, said
"all signs point to Iran" after an official in Jerusalem said the bus
was shot at and an explosive thrown.
will respond forcefully to Iranian terror," Netanyahu said. "In the
past few months we have seen attempts by Iran to harm Israelis in
Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places."
"The vast majority of the dead and the injured are Israelis," Israeli foreign ministry's deputy spokesman Paul Hirschson told AFP.The
attack -- the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004, and the first on
Bulgarian soil against Israelis -- drew strong condemnation from its
staunchest ally the United States, as well as from France and Britain.
US President Barack Obama condemned the "barbaric terrorist attack".
did not mention Iran in his written statement but reaffirmed America's
"unshakeable commitment to Israel's security, and our
deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people."
thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured,
and with the people of Israel, Bulgaria, and any other nation whose
citizens were harmed in this awful event," he said.
attacks against innocent civilians, including children, are completely
outrageous. The United States will stand with our allies, and provide
whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the
perpetrators of this attack."
attack came on the 18th anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community
centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and wounded 300.
also held Iran responsible back in 1994. The Islamic republic denied
the charge and has accused Israel of being behind the
assassinations of nuclear scientists and senior military figures in
people were killed and over 30 were injured in a blast on a tourist bus
near Sarafovo airport," the Bulgarian foreign ministry said, adding
that authorities were investigating whether it was a terrorist attack.
Israel's foreign ministry said that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov had told his counterpart Avigdor Lieberman that "the explosion was caused by a bomb," while putting the death toll at seven.Burgas
mayor Dimitar Nikolov, who was at the airport at the time, said the
blast happened as tourists were boarding the bus and placing their bags
in the luggage compartment, where he suspects the explosives might have
"I cannot say if
it was an act of terrorism. The blast was very strong and in my view was
triggered by a device which was deliberately set," he said.
blast occurred around 1400 GMT on the bus carrying Israelis who had
flown in to Burgas, the second largest city on Bulgaria's Black Sea
coast, setting off a fire that spread to another two buses, the ministry
Israel's foreign ministry said the attack targeted a group of tourists who had just arrived on a flight from Tel Aviv.
media reports said many of those on the flight were young Israeli
school-leavers who were just about to be drafted into the military.
Pictures showed huge plumes of black smoke rising over the airport, which the ministry said was closed after the attack.
Television showed ambulances rushing people to hospital and women crying.
communist Bulgaria enjoy good relations, and the Black Sea coast has
become a popular holiday spot for Israelis, with almost 140,000 visiting
the country in 2011.
was on the bus and we had just sat down when after a few seconds we
heard a really loud explosion," one Israeli tourist, Gal Malka, told
Israeli army radio. "The whole bus went up in flames."
Aviva, another Israeli woman who was on a nearby bus, said she heard a "very loud explosion".
are seven dead people," she told the radio, adding that she saw people
whose clothes had been blown off and bodies lying on the floor.
"It was just terrible; people were jumping out of the windows," she said.
January, Israeli public television reported that Bulgarian authorities
had foiled a bomb attack when they found an explosive device on a bus
chartered to take Israeli tourists to a ski resort.
Bulgarian troops were deployed in several ski resorts frequented by Israeli tourists after the bomb was found, the report added.
Israeli military said it was about to send a plane carrying a medical
team to Bulgaria "in order to provide medical care and to assist those
injured in returning to Israel," a statement said.