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