The Edge of Terrorism
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|Dan Levin||July 18th 2012|
From RFE and Agencies
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming Iran for an explosion on a bus in Bulgaria with Israeli tourists aboard that killed at least four people and wounded nearly 30 others. The blast occurred at the airport in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas shortly after a plane from Tel Aviv had landed. Bulgaria is a popular destination for Israeli tourists.
Local police called the explosion a terrorist act but cautioned they could not confirm the nationalities of those killed and injured. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said police were investigating two possible causes of the blast -- that an explosive device was put in the bus before the tourists boarded or that the explosives were in the tourists' luggage. Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev interrupted his schedule to go to the scene of the explosion. In Israel, Netanyahu released a statement about the attack that said "all signs lead to Iran."
Netanyahu said "in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus, and other places." Iran has denied any connection to those attacks. Netanyahu said the July 18 attack in Bulgaria came "18 years exactly after the blast at the Jewish community center in Argentina." The Israeli government also blames Iran for that 1994 attack, which killed more than 80 people and wounded some 300.
Netanyahu vowed "Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror."
Iran has not yet issued any statement about the attack or about accusations that Tehran was involved. European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said she was "shocked and saddened by the news about the explosion." The U.S. government condemned the attack. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. stands with the Israeli people and the people of Bulgaria and added the U.S. "commitment to Israel's security remains unshakable."