Israel official: Suicide bomber attacked Israelis in Bulgaria
New investigative direction counters previous estimates, according to which bomb was planted in Burgas tour bus; authorities say suspected perpetrator carried fake U.S. ID.
The bombing in Bulgaria on Wednesday was committed by a suicide bomber and not by a charge planted in the bus beforehand as believed at first, a senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry told Haaretz on Thursday.
The estimate was bolstered by comments made by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Metodiev Borisov as saying that chances were that the bombing was perpetrated by a suicide bomber.
Seven people were killed in the bombing, five of them Israeli tourists, one of them the Bulgarian bus driver, with authorities estimating that the seventh may be the terrorist who perpetrated the attack. An additional 34 Israelis were wounded in the attack.
The Bulgarian police said that footage from airport security cameras captured the suspect roaming the airport for at least one hour, the Bulgarian news agency Novinite reported. According to the report he was a long-haired Caucasian in sportswear.
The body suspected as belonging to the terrorist had a U.S. driver's license issued in Michigan – apparently fake.
During the night, two Israeli aircrafts carrying medical staff, a casualty identification team, a police forensic team, as well as, Israeli diplomats to assist in the return of Israelis who lost their identification in the attack.
Gideon Meir, deputy director of the Israeli foreign ministry, said that the governments of Bulgaria and Israel are closely cooperating to deal with the aftermath of the attack. Israel is involved in both the treatment of the wounded and in the investigation of the attack.
According to Meir, Bulgaria had agreed to send a plane from Burgas to Israel to aid in the return of Israelis stranded there.
During the night, all 34 of the Israeli wounded were checked by Israeli medical staff. Israeli embassy workers in Bulgaria contacted all Israelis that were on the flight and fell victim to the attack.
The 34 Israelis wounded in the attack have been transferred to a nearby airport, and are ready to be airlifted to Israel, with Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria Shaul Kasmia saying that they were transported from the hospital using buses and ambulances.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "I was deeply saddened and angered to learn of today’s terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The United States condemns in the strongest terms this heinous terrorist attack against innocent civilians. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. The United States stands ready to offer any assistance necessary, and we will work with our partners in Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere so that the perpetrators can be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice for this appalling crime."
Mitt Romney said in a statement: “The terrorist attack today in Bulgaria is a sobering reminder that the scourge of terrorism continues to threaten all free people. My heart goes out to the victims and their families, and to all Israelis who have been the targets of such brutal and cowardly violence for so long. We must stand together in the fight against terrorism, and we must prevail.”