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J'lem, Bulgaria divided over Burgas attack blame

September 12, 2012 04:23

Israel positive Hezbollah and Iran behind the terror attack that killed 5 Israelis, but Bulgaria not convinced.

The Burgas Airport in Bulgaria.

The Burgas Airport in Bulgaria 390. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Israeli and Bulgarian differences over apportioning blame for the July terrorist attack in Burgas surfaced at a joint press conference between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Metodiev Borisov on Tuesday.

Within hours of the attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver, Netanyahu said that Hezbollah and Iran were behind the attack. The Bulgarian authorities, who have yet to make an arrest in the case, have not yet formally pointed a finger at any group.

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Asked about the matter at the press conference which preceded a government-to-government meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu repeated that Israel had “incontrovertible information” that Hezbollah carried out the attack.

Referring to a thwarted attack a couple weeks before the Burgas bombing against Israeli targets in Cyprus, for which a Hezbollah operative was arrested, Netanyahu said the Burgas attack followed “exactly the same pattern” as that effort.

“We are not guessing or surmising,” he said. “We know it is Hezbollah, and they work in close coordination with Iran.”

Borisov, however, said that there was not enough evidence to pinpoint who ordered the attack or say that it was definitely Hezbollah.

He said fingerprints of the bomber killed in the attack, as well as DNA samples, were passed on to Israel to help identify the bomber.

Netanyahu made clear at the press conference that while Israel had definitive information, it could not release all its intelligence data for fear of compromising its sources. But he praised the Bulgarians for how they responded to the attack, and said the country was a “great” friend of Israel.

“Friends are tested in time of need.” Netanyahu said. “You rose to the challenge. You, your government, your people, doctors, everyone. We appreciated that deeply.”

This was the second government- to-government meeting between the two countries, and various agreements to enhance cooperation were signed in the fields of health, technology and communications, and security and defense.
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