US President Barack Obama 370 (R).
(photo credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration lost no time condemning the slaughter of
Israeli tourists in Bulgaria Wednesday and labeling the bus bombing a terror
US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu Wednesday afternoon to convey his condolences over the loss of life
and affirm American support for Israel, similar to messages he conveyed in a
sharply worded statement issued in his name an hour earlier.
condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria,” Obama
declared in the statement. “These attacks against innocent civilians, including
children, are completely outrageous.”
He said the United States would not
only “stand with our allies,” but would provide “whatever assistance is
necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this
He also took the opportunity to reaffirm the United States’
“unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and
solidarity with the Israeli people.”
The statement was similar to another
message put out by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton soon after the
“I was deeply saddened and angered to learn of today’s terrorist
attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria,” she said, calling it “a heinous
terrorist attack against innocent civilians.”
She also offered American
help to “work with our partners in Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere so that the
perpetrators can be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice for this
Rapid statements from the highest level of the American
government after a terror attack are not unheard of, but it is unusual that so
many separate and lengthy responses would be provided in the immediate aftermath
of a violent incident.
The response comes as the US and Israel maintain a
wary watch on Iran – the country Israel is holding responsible for perpetrating
the attack through its proxy Hezbollah – as it presses forward with its nuclear
program despite international objections. Iran has fingered Israel in
assassinations of its nuclear scientists and debilitating computer bugs that
have affected its centrifuges and other components of its nuclear
The Obama administration has also been at pains to demonstrate
its solidarity with Israel as Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney has
repeatedly criticized the White House’s treatment of Jerusalem.
herself was in Israel earlier this week expressing support for the Jewish state,
and Romney will make his own trip at the end of the month.
issued a statement Wednesday condemning the bus attack.
attack today in Bulgaria is a sobering reminder that the scourge of terrorism
continues to threaten all free people,” he said. “My heart goes out to the
victims and their families, and to all Israelis who have been the targets of
such brutal and cowardly violence for so long.”
He concluded, “We must
stand together in the fight against terrorism, and we must
Additionally, a plethora of members of Congress issued
statements of solidarity with Israel and outrage at the attacks.
were joined by a host of American Jewish organizations who expressed sympathy
for the victims and their families.