Date: July 19 2012
Israel has threatened to “settle the account” with those responsible for an attack that left at least six people dead and dozens wounded, most of them Israeli tourists, when a bomb exploded on a bus in Bulgaria yesterday.
All signs pointed to the involvement of Iran, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“Over the last few months we have seen Iran’s attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other countries,” Mr Netanyahu said.
“This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react firmly to it.”
His defence minister, Ehud Barak, went one step further, alleging the attack was “initiated probably by Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or another group under the terror auspices of either Iran or other radical Islamic groups”.
Describing Israel’s fight against these groups as “continual”, Mr Barak said “we are determined to identify who sent them, who perpetrated [the attack], and to settle the account”.
The attack comes in the midst of a concerted lobbying effort from Washington to quell Israel’s increasingly bellicose rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program and its doubts over whether talks between Iran and six major nations aimed at curbing Tehran’s uranium enrichment program were making progress.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the latest high-level US official to visit Jerusalem in the past two weeks. The deputy Secretary of State William Burns visited in Israel in the last week, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon was here to discuss “regional security issues”, a US state department official confirmed, while US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to visit in the coming days.
The carnage in the car park of the small airport in the Black Sea city of Burgas, about 400 kilometres east of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, was caused by explosives planted in the trunk of the tourist bus, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said, according to reports on the Haaretz news site.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the bus was carrying tourists from a charter flight that arrived from Tel Aviv.
Three other buses caught fire after explosion tore through the bus, reports indicated.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned “this heinous terrorist attack against innocent civilians”.
The explosion occurred the 18th anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community centre in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, which killed 85.
Argentina has issued arrest warrants for several Iranian nationals including General Ahmad Vahidi, the country's defence minister and former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, over the attack, although Iran has consistently denied Israel’s assertions that it was to blame for the attack.
Bulgarian authorities foiled an earlier bomb attack in January targeting a bus chartered to take Israeli tourists from the Turkish border to a Bulgarian ski resort in January, Al Jazeera reported.
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