Bulgaria, Israel mark Burgas terror attack anniversary

EU members likely to call Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist entity; 28 member states have nearly reached consensus.

Bulgaria bus bomb 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Bulgaria bus bomb 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – Bulgarians and Israelis commemorated on Thursday the victims who lost their lives last July in a terrorist attack in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas.
Bulgaria’s government blamed Hezbollah for exploding a bomb on an Israeli tour bus a year ago at the Burgas airport, resulting in the deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver.
The attack targeted 42 Israeli tourists, causing injuries to 32 people. Bulgaria’s former foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov, who navigated the diplomatic process surrounding the Burgas attack, told The Jerusalem Post that Europe must be “uncompromising” toward terrorists.
“Once it became apparent that people connected to Hezbollah’s military wing organized the attack at Sarafovo Airport, it became inevitable that sanctions will be put in place,” Mladenov wrote in an email.
The 28 members of the European Union have nearly reached a consensus on outlawing Hezbollah’s military wing. Malta is believed to be the last holdout among the EU countries.
Solomon Bali, the head the B’nai B’rith Sofia chapter, spoke with the Post and said that in light of the attack “Bulgaria needs to reconsider its security plans and arrangements.”
He said, “what bothers me” are the reports in the media that suggest Israel took all of the evidence and that explains why Bulgaria cannot find the perpetrators.
“We [B’nai B’rith] are concerned about the assumption that Israel and the US are taking... advantage of the terror act.”
The Hezbollah suspects are believed to be in Lebanon and Beirut has not cooperated with investigative and extradition assistance.
When asked about Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin’s comments shifting the onus of responsibility away from Hezbollah, Mladenov told the Post, “I would be more interested in the position that Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev stated, as his services lead the investigation and cooperate with our partners in getting to the bottom of this.
He was quite clear that there is no reason to doubt that the conclusion reached in February still stands. In fact, he said it has been further substantiated by new information.”
Before the start of the commemoration event in Burgas, Yovchev reaffirmed his predecessor’s views, saying, “There are clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing.”
The event in Burgas was attended by the families of the Israeli victims, Bulgarian politicians and Israeli diplomats.
The Sofia News agency reported that “a memorial in homage to the victims will be officially inaugurated.”
The Sofia wire service wrote that the director of Israel’s Magen David Adom volunteer ambulatory service and the director of the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv are slated to attend. The Burgas culture center will host a ceremony honoring the rescuers and people who assisted the victims last year.
The IDF’s blog devoted an article today to the Burgas attacks, quoting survivors immediately after the attack: “We got on the bus. There were a lot of people on it suddenly someone got on there, and something exploded,” said passenger Gal Malka.
“We heard a boom. And we actually saw body parts.”
The US State Department’s counterterrorism bureau tweeted, “On This Day: In 2012, a #[Hezbollah] terrorist attack killed 5 Israelis and 1 Bulgarian & injured 32 Israelis on [a] tourist bus to Burgas Airport.”