WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - US President Barack Obama cited the "ruthless" suicide bus attack in Bulgaria and upheaval in Syria as reasons to fortify support for Israel, telling a re-election campaign event in Florida on Thursday he stood by Israel's side.

Departing from his normal stump-speech themes of tax fairness, education and healthcare, the Democratic president described the Bulgaria airport bus bombing that killed Israeli tourists as "barbaric" and a "ruthless terrorist attack."

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