PM: Media Reports on Terrorism Hurt Bulgaria-Arab Ties

Defense | January 6, 2012, Friday // 20:00|  views

Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, says media reports on possible terrorist attacks harm the country's tourism and its relations with the Arab world. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, called on media Friday to not publish sensational information about possible terrorist attacks in the country.

Borisov's words came on the heels of reports that Israel had warned Bulgaria about a looming terrorist attack. The planned attacks were said to be in connection with the February 12 anniversary of the killing of Lebanese militant Hezbollah group leader, Imad Mughnieh.

"Bulgaria has outstanding record in its relations with the Arab world, except the fact that one day earlier I beat Arab Ambassadors in a football match," the PM said, quoted by the Bulgarian National TV, BNT.

Obviously irked by a reporter's question, asking if security had been upped Borisov answered:

"What security measures? If services wait for some obscure site to write something and then take measures, they must all be fired. Do not spread such writings, this is my only request regarding terrorism. Do not make them important and headline news. You cannot help in such cases; you can only make things worse. Do you think that if there was such threat; if Israeli intelligence had intercepted it, they would not have warned us and we would fail to undertake measures? Do you really believe that?" the PM stressed, adding that anyone can pay any site to publish any information.

On Thursday, Russian Israeli website IzRus, published information that the plot was unearthed by Bulgarian secret services, which promptly informed their Israeli colleagues.

Borisov challenged journalists to write how "someone had told them that there would be a terrorist attack in Germany, and see if anyone would pay attention to it and inquire with the German Chancellor."

"All institutions and services assured you that there is no plot – your reporting hurts the country's tourism," the PM concluded.

On Thursday, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry refuted allegations that the level of security had been raised due to claims that Hezbollah might be planning attacks on Israeli citizens in the country.

The controversial information was officially rejected by the Foreign Ministry, which said Friday morning that it had received no such tip-off.

The reassurances were echoed Friday by Bulgarian Ministers of Defense, Transport and Economy.

Dani Shenar, Head of Security at the Israeli Transport Ministry, said in a Friday interview that a suspicious package found 3 days ago on a bus that was supposed to carry Israeli tourists from Turkey to Sofia was the reason why Israel requested a tightening of security measures around busses carrying groups of Israeli tourists between airports and hotels.

Meanwhile Israel's Anti-Terrorist Services stated they did not have any particular information about terrorist attacks in Bulgaria.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, media, reports, terrorist attacks, tourism, relations, Arab world, Dani Shenar, Haaretz, terrorist attack, Hezbollah, Israel, bus, tourists, airports, Foreign Ministry, interior ministry, security measures, attacks, terrorist, security, Foreign Ministry, interior ministry


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