Israel links attack in Bulgaria to ‘Iranian terror’ and AMIA anniversary in Buenos Aires
Six people were killed in a bomb attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport on Wednesday and Israel accused Tehran of carrying out the attack, promising a strong response to Iranian terror.
The blast comes on the 18th anniversary of a 1994 bomb attack on the headquarters of Argentina's main Jewish organization, AMIA, by an Iranian-backed Hezbollah suicide bomber, which killed 85 people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran and said Israel would respond.
All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places, Netanyahu said in a statement.
Eighteen years exactly after the blast at the Jewish community centre in Argentina, murderous Iranian terror continues to hit innocent people. This is an Iranian terror attack that is spreading throughout the entire world. Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror, he said.
The tourists had arrived on a charter flight from Israel and were on the bus in the car park outside Burgas airport when the blast ripped through the double-decker. By late evening, the airport was still sealed off and closed as authorities tried to pin down exactly what had happened.
Such a terrifying act on the territory of a sovereign country, member of the EU, is a provocation to the efforts of the democratic community for achieving world peace, said Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov.
Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said six people had been killed, including one who died in hospital. Thirty-two people were in hospital, three of whom were in intensive care.
Israel said seven people had been killed. Bulgarian Police have declined to give the nationality of the dead. A TV station in Bulgaria said a Bulgarian may have been killed.
Israeli officials had previously said that Bulgaria, a popular holiday destination for Israeli tourists, was vulnerable to attack by Islamist militants who could infiltrate via Turkey.
The incident was not reported by Iranian media and there was no immediate Iranian reaction to the Israeli accusation.
Burgas is Bulgaria's fourth largest city and lies on the Black Sea coast some 60 km from the border with Turkey. It is at the centre of a string of seaside resorts which are popular for their sunshine and low cost compared with many parts of the Mediterranean.