July 18, 2012 – Bourgas, BULGARIA
At least seven people are dead and dozens are injured after a suicide bombing targeting Israeli tourists vacationing in Bulgaria. The bus was carrying mostly Israeli youth when it exploded on Wednesday July 18, 2012, police and hospital officials say. Two pregnant women and an 11 year old child are among the injured.
The blast occurred shortly after someone boarded the vehicle transporting Israeli tourist from Tel Aviv around 5:00 PM local Bulgarian time. A total of 146 adults and 8 children were traveling with “Air Via” charter flight 392.
According to BBC News, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed “All the signs lead to Iran” and “Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror. Iran has made no public comments to the Israeli accusations.” Russian InterFax published an immediate denial of the accusation on behalf of right wing Shi’a Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah.
This terrorist attack is unprecedented for any country member of the European Union. The targeted location at the Black Sea, and not the capital Sofia, is the closest possible border point between Europe and the Middle East. For the Bulgarian people, this attack is as traumatic as the 9/11 attack was for the American people.
Meanwhile, the United States condemned the deadly attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, as White House press secretary Jay Carney said Carney declared that the US stands with the Israeli people and the people of Bulgaria.
In January, 2012 there were reports that Israel had asked Bulgaria to tighten security for Israeli tourists traveling by bus. This followed a reported discovery of a suspicious package found on a bus with Israeli tourists traveling from Turkey to Bulgaria. CIA Director Petraeus also visited Bulgaria on unannounced trip in June of this year.
Currently, the Bourgas airport has been closed and flights are being diverted to Varna. All airports, bus and train stations remain under a close watch after Bulgaria’s capital mayor called for tightened security measures.
Bourgas is a Black Sea port city just over an hour drive from our base location of Yambol, Bulgaria. The First Pentecostal church on the Balkans was founded in Bourgas in 1920 by Assemblies of God missionaries, Donisey Zaplishny and Ivan Voronaev and consecutively lead to the establishment of the Bulgarian Church of God in 1928.
Netanyahu Vows ‘Forceful Response to Iranian Terror’: All signs are that Iran and Hizbullah are behind blast, on the 18th anniversary of the AMIA attack in Argentina that killed 85.
The TIMES: Israeli tourists killed in bus bombing
Novinite.com: Israeli Tourists’ Bus Blast in Bulgaria Terrorist Attack
The Jerusalem Post: 3 dead in suicide bombing on Israeli bus in Bulgaria
Financial Times: Bulgaria bus blast kills Israeli tourists
U.S. Department of State: Statement by Secretary of State on the Attacks in Bulgaria