Israel Insists on Hezbollah Trace in Burgas Bus BombingCrime | August 14, 2012, Tuesday // 12:39| views
The July 18 terror attack, carried out at the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, killed seven, including five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver and a suspected suicide bomber.Photo by dariknews.bg
Ilana Stein, deputy spokesperson at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, has hinted of a certain Iranian or Lebanese involvement in the July 18 bus bombing in Bulgaria's Black Sea coastal city of Burgas.
The terror attack, carried out at the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, killed seven, including five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver and a suspected suicide bomber.
Stein's statement confirms Israel's official stance, with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blaming Iran and pro-Iranian Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for the bus bombing right after the first reports came out.
"Irael is very glad about the good cooperation, the Bulgarian government is helping us in every way possible,"Stein said in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) Tuesday morning.
"The Prime Minister, as well as some Ministers, like the Interior Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Tourism came to Burgas to assure us that everything possible had been done on the case. They were helping us all the time and they did not go before things had settled to a certain extent," Stein said, commenting on the response of the Bulgarian government.
She added that Bulgaria's assistance was greatly appreciated by Israel.
"For instance, our Minister of Tourism flew to Bulgaria right after the terror attack to express our gratitude and solidarity with Bulgaria. Naturally, we are very sad and we offer our condolences to the family of the Bulgarian bus driver, who also died in the accident," Stein noted.
She added that she could not make public comments on issues concerning Israel's national security.
"Israel believes that the Bulgarian people and the government are very responsive," Stein added.
The deputy spokesperson at the Israeli Foreign Ministry further noted that Israel was pleased with the medical assistance given to the wounded Israeli nationals in Burgas and in Sofia.
"We believe that they acted very professionally and that they gave their best. Some of the people here are still in hospital, others are already at home, and we are hoping that they will recover fully soon. There has been a decrease in the number of Israeli tourist visiting Bulgaria, but some of them, who were already in Bulgaria at the time of the accident, remained there, while others bought tickets and flew back in the week of the accident. Unfortunately, there have been many threats against Israelis in different parts of the world. Israelis often go where they like to go and have to leave their worries aside. I am sure that the tourist flow will increase to reach the levels prior to the terror attack," Stein argued.
Asked why the terror attack had happened in Bulgaria, she explained that Israel was aware that the people involved in the attack had been dispatched by Iran and that Hezbollah was involved.
"I do not know why this attempt came out successful in Bulgaria, but we know that they keep trying all of the time. Unfortunately, we do not always manage to stop them,"she said.
Stein refused to comment on Mossad's warning from January 2012 that Bulgaria could become the target of a terror attack and on its relation to the Burgas bus bombing.
"We know, however, that Iranian President Ahmadinejad said in a statement one day after the attack that "Sometimes the enemy strikes us, sometimes we strike back in response even stronger". Unfortunately, we know for certain that Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah want to hurt us. Even the EU said that Hezbollah had been involved in the terror attacks. There were discussions on the topic in March 2005," she stated.
Regarding the identity of the perpetrator of the terror attack in Burgas, Stein reiterated Israel's stance about a certain Iranian or Lebanese involvement.
"We know for certain that Iran and Hezbollah are involved - we have ample evidence confirming that. I cannot declare it in public, but they have been convicted behind closed doors.Unfortunately, the organizations in these countries are still trying to hurt Israelis. We cannot yet reveal the nationality of the perpetrator," Stein concluded.
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