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Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

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Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Wed 18 Jul - 23:10

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) -- A bomb exploded on a bus carrying Israeli youth in a Bulgarian resort Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 32, officials said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it "an Iranian terror attack" and promised a tough response.

The explosion took place in the Black Sea city of Burgas, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of the capital, Sofia. TV images showed smoke billowing from the scene - a parking lot at the local airport where the Israeli tourists had landed shortly before the blast. Several buses and cars were on fire near the shell of the exploded vehicle.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, after being briefed by his Bulgarian counterpart, said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed on the bus. He said seven people died, but by Wednesday night the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry had placed the death toll at six and the number of wounded at 32. Bulgarian leaders, including the president, rushed to the site, while the Foreign Ministry said authorities were operating under the theory the blast was a terrorist attack.

No group immediately claimed responsibility. But Israelis often have been targeted outside their country, and Wednesday's attack coincided with the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that killed 85 people.

Israel suspects archrival Iran of being behind several of those assaults. The two nations have long been in dispute over the nature of Iran's nuclear program. Israel has warned it will use military force to curb Iran's program if it must because it believes Tehran wants atomic weapons - a charge Iranian officials deny.

The Israeli premier noted that Wednesday's attack followed similar attacks or attempted attacks in India, Georgia, Thailand and Kenya and Cyprus in recent months. He said that once again, "all signs point to Iran," though he did not offer any evidence to back up the claim.

"This is an Iranian terror attack that is spreading across the world," Netanyahu said. "Israel will react strongly to Iran's terror."

The United States, which has preferred to pursue sanctions and diplomatic pressure against Iran in the nuclear dispute, also strongly condemned what President Barack Obama called a "barbaric terrorist attack." British Foreign Secretary William Hague also called it terrorism and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

Tehran did not immediately issue any comment.

Bulgaria, a majority Orthodox Christian country of 7.3 million that borders Greece and Turkey, is a favorite tourist destination for Israelis. In recent years, Burgas has become popular as an inexpensive haven for groups of Israeli teenagers taking trips after finishing high school and before their military service.

Lieberman said the bus was transporting tourists who had arrived in a charter flight from Israel. There were 154 people on the flight.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Rosenzweig said the flight was coming from Tel Aviv and landed at 4:45 p.m. He said the blast took place about 40 minutes later. The tourists were apparently boarding the buses to go to their hotels.

Witness Gal Malka told Israel's Channel 2 TV that she saw someone board the bus just before it exploded. Malka, who was lightly wounded, said the bus was full of Israeli teenagers. "We were at the entrance of the bus and in a few seconds we heard a huge boom," she said.

The Burgas airport was closed and traffic redirected. In Sofia, meanwhile, Mayor Yordanka Fandakova ordered a stronger police presence at all public places linked to the Jewish community. There are some 5,000 Jews in Bulgaria and most live in the capital.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is peaceful, has in the past accused Israel of being behind deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists.

Israel has not admitted a role in those strikes, but it and others have accused Iran of reprisal missions, including a February bombing in New Delhi that wounded an Israeli diplomat's wife and the discovery of a cache of explosives in Bangkok that Thai officials claim was linked to a plot to target Israeli diplomats. Iran has denied involvement.

In Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, security officials in March announced the arrest of 22 suspects allegedly hired by Iran for terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Israeli embassies and other Western-linked sites.

Wednesday's attack also coincided with the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. An Argentine magistrate has concluded Iran was behind that attack.

Israeli officials also have long feared that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group would try to attack Israelis abroad. Hezbollah has accused Israel of assassinating a top leader in Damascus in 2008 and vowed vengeance. Israel has never admitted involvement in the death.

In the past two decades, Bulgaria has witnessed car bombings and other explosions, but such attacks are typically linked to rivalries between criminal gangs. The apparent nature of Wednesday's attack was unusual for the country, possibly unprecedented, and the death toll exceptionally high.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Israel's Channel 2 TV said there was no advance intelligence on an attack in Bulgaria.

But counterterrorism expert Boaz Ganor said Iran and Hezbollah were the most likely culprits. He told The Associated Press that all the indications pointed toward them. He also cited the arrest of a Hezbollah operative in Cyprus in recent days who was suspected of preparing a similar attack.

"This is probably a parallel operation and likely not the last in a series," he said. "All this looks like Hezbollah, Iran or a combination of the two."

---

Heller reported from Jerusalem.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BULGARIA_ISRAELIS_ATTACKED?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-07-18-13-03-56

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  Badboy on Thu 19 Jul - 0:07

IS WW111 ABOUT TO BREAK OUT?

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 7:32

Badboy wrote:IS WW111 ABOUT TO BREAK OUT?

There are some suggestions that it is.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Jul - 8:06



The Israelis have been keeping a watchful eye on Iran for a long time and expect lightning strikes over this. They won't wait for a resolution and will
be ruthless if they prove conclusively that Iran is to blame.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Jul - 8:10

19 July 2012 Last updated at 07:48 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

The bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in eastern Bulgaria was probably carried out by a male suicide bomber with fake US documents, officials say.

At least eight people died and 34 were injured when the bus exploded at Burgas airport, by the Black Sea.

Israel has sent planes to Burgas with doctors and officials to bring back the dead and injured.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Lebanese Hezbollah was the direct perpetrator, under Iran's auspices.

The BBC's Jon Donnison, in Jerusalem, says the attack could be part of a covert but violent war between Israel and Iran, and there is a view among some analysts that this attack could be a response to a series of recent attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
We had just sat down when after a few seconds we heard a really loud explosion. The whole bus went up in flames”
End Quote
Gal Malka

Bus passenger

"All the signs lead to Iran," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Wednesday. "Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror."

Mr Barak said the attack resembled several recent attempted attacks on Israeli targets in India, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Kenya and Cyprus.

But he said that he did not think there had been any specific prior information that the attack was imminent.

'Distressed crowds'

The Israeli foreign ministry said the bus was carrying tourists from a charter flight that arrived from Israel.

The BBC's Chris Morris, in Sofia, said a Bulgarian official has told the BBC that CCTV footage from the airport shows a Caucasian male hanging about for some time in the airport terminal building before the explosion took place. The man is seen leaving the terminal shortly before the blast happened just outside.

Investigators are working on the theory that this man is the bomber, the official said.

Israeli officials said passengers from a Tel Aviv-Burgas flight boarded the bus shortly after 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

"I was on the bus and we had just sat down when after a few seconds we heard a really loud explosion," Gal Malka told Israel's army radio.

"The whole bus went up in flames," she said, adding that the explosion took place near the front of the bus.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak claimed Lebanese Hezbollah was the perpetrator, under Iran's auspices
Bulgarian journalist Dobromir Dovkacharov, who arrived at the scene about 30 minutes after the blast, said: "I saw three buses completely burnt out - just the metal bars were left.

"There were crowds of people around, very distressed. One man said he saw decapitated heads. Others spoke of body parts flying through the air," Mr Dovkacharov said.

Six tourists died, along with two others, one of them the Bulgarian bus driver.

The eighth fatality is now thought to be the suicide bomber, a man with a Michigan-issued US driver's licence which reports said may have been fake.

Two of the wounded are in a serious condition and have been flown to the capital Sofia.

Israeli forensic teams who arrived during the night are helping to identify the bodies.

Wednesday's blast came on the 18th anniversary of a deadly attack on a Jewish community centre in Argentina. Israel blamed Iran for that attack - a claim denied by Tehran.

US President Barack Obama described the bombing as a "barbaric terrorist attack".

Bulgaria is a popular tourist destination for Israelis.

However, in January there were reports that Israel had asked Bulgaria to tighten security for Israeli tourists travelling by bus.

This followed a reported discovery of a suspicious package found on a bus with Israeli tourists travelling from Turkey to Bulgaria.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  Panda on Thu 19 Jul - 8:48

(CNN) -- Wednesday's explosion on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria came on the 18th anniversary of the attack on a Jewish community center in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, in which 85 people were killed.

Argentina's top prosecutor last year blamed Iran for the 1994 attack. Israel also holds Iran responsible for the attack.

Tehran has denied any connection to the Buenos Aires bombing, which it has condemned.

Such claims and counterclaims between Israel and Iran have been common in the past three decades, with each blaming the other for attacks on their citizens.

"All signs point towards Iran," Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "Over the last few months we have seen Iran's attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other countries."

Read Netanyahu's official statement

At least seven people were killed in the Bulgarian explosion.

Iran had no immediate reaction.

After Iranian nuclear scientists were assassinated in Tehran, Iran blamed Israel. When attackers targeted Israeli diplomats this year, Israel blamed Iran.

Iran hanged a man who was convicted of killing one of its nuclear scientists, state-run Press TV reported in May.

Majid Jamali Fashi was convicted of the January 2010 killing of Massoud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian university professor and a nuclear scientist. He was also convicted of spying.

Prosecutors accused him of working for the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, and said he was paid $120,000 by Israel to carry out the hit.

Israel typically does not comment on such claims.

In January, Iran sent a letter to the United Nations secretary-general alleging the killings of the scientists were terrorist attacks that followed a clear pattern. "There is firm evidence that certain foreign quarters are behind such assassinations," the letter said.

In April, Iran said it broke up an Israeli "terror and sabotage network" that was planning attacks within the country, making a number of arrests while confiscating weapons and equipment, state-run media reported.

"The complicated and months-long measures and moves made by the Iranian intelligence forces to identify the devils led to the discovery of the Zionists' regional command center ... and discovering the identity of the agents active in that command center," a statement from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said.

Previously on CNN.com: Iranian supreme leader blames U.S., Israel for scientist's death

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said then that every few months Iran spreads disinformation and there was no basis to the story.

Ties between Iran and Israel unraveled after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

After he was elected in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began spouting anti-Israeli and anti-Western rhetoric.

Yet it has been Iran's nuclear program that has raised the prospects of armed conflict.

Iran has been in a protracted dispute with the United States and other countries over its nuclear program, which it claims is for peaceful purposes.

But many Western countries fear the program is a cover for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Just this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Iran has not made a "strategic decision" to address concerns.

Clinton: Iran's proposals are "non-starters."

Israel, which is believed to have its own nuclear arsenal and is alarmed over Tehran's hostility toward the Jewish state, has said it may attack Iran to try to stop the country from developing nuclear weapons.

"There is a world agreement that the Iranian government is after nuclear weapons and that its policy of terrorism is endangering everybody. There is a global understating that we must do everything we can to prevent Iran from endangering others," Israeli President Shimon Peres said, according to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office.

Opinion: Does U.S. matter in Egypt and Israel?


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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  Guest on Thu 19 Jul - 13:31

It worries me for the security of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics. The security systems are already being criticised as inadequate because there simply aren't enough workers, and the ones that there are haven't been vetted properly. They are now having to draft in what little troops we actually have left, to make up the shortfall. I hope there's not a repeat of the Munich Olympics. Some of the athletes are staying and training in Manchester, and a couple was convicted last month of planning to blow up the synagogue there.
http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/69039/couple-planned-bomb-manchester-jewish-area-court-hears

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 16:04

Iris wrote:It worries me for the security of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics. The security systems are already being criticised as inadequate because there simply aren't enough workers, and the ones that there are haven't been vetted properly. They are now having to draft in what little troops we actually have left, to make up the shortfall. I hope there's not a repeat of the Munich Olympics. Some of the athletes are staying and training in Manchester, and a couple was convicted last month of planning to blow up the synagogue there.
http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/69039/couple-planned-bomb-manchester-jewish-area-court-hears

Very worrying Iris. Just been reading in one of my local papers that of 180 people who were supposed to turn up to be vetted by G4s as security for the football matches, only 8 turned up.

And going back to the Bulgarian bus bombing, I've just read that the Islamist bomber was from Deerborn, Michigan. He was identified by comparing his DNA to his family there.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 19:55

Bombing suspect in attack that killed 7 on bus of Israeli tourists was carrying fake Michigan driver's license, Bulgaria says



The suspected suicide bomber in Wednesday’s attack on a tour bus that killed seven and injured dozens was carrying a fake U.S. identification card, the Bulgarian prime minister said.

The suspect, whose nationality has not been determined, had a fake Michigan driver's license, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said in an interview. Six of the victims on the tour bus are Israeli citizens.

The attack occurred shortly after the Israelis boarded a bus outside the airport in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas, a popular destination for Israeli tourists -- particularly for high school graduates before they are drafted into military service -- 250 miles east of the capital, Sofia.

Bulgarian television aired security camera footage Thursday showing the suspected bomber wandering in and out of the terminal shortly before the blast. He was dressed as a tourist himself, wearing a baseball cap, T-shirt, plaid shorts and sneakers with short white socks. He carried a large backpack with wheels.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the bomber was believed to have been about 36 years old and had been in the country between four and seven days.
"We cannot exclude the possibility that he had logistical support on Bulgarian territory," the minister said. He declined to elaborate.

Reuters reported that special forces obtained DNA samples for the fingers of the bomber and are attempting to identify him.
"The site is still under investigation," Tsvetanov said. "Our main goal is within the day to gather the necessary evidence."

No group claimed responsibility, but suspicion fell upon Iran and its Lebanese proxy, the Hezbollah guerrilla group. Iran's state TV rejected accusations of Tehran's involvement, saying in a commentary Thursday that claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others were "ridiculous" and "sensational."
Israel stood by its stance.

"The direct executors are Hezbollah," Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday. "Israel will do all it can to find those responsible and punish them, both those who carried it out directly and those who dispatched them."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran and Hezbollah have been carrying out a "global terror campaign" for more than a year that has targeted Israelis and others.

Israel's military said a military plane carrying 33 Israelis injured in the bombing arrived Thursday in Israeli. At least two critically injured Israelis were sent to Sofia for treatment, according to the head of the Israeli military medical corps, Brig. Gen. Itzik Kreis.

A Bulgarian government plane will fly home 100 other Israelis who were not wounded but who want to cut short their vacation.

Bulgarian authorities Thursday dispatched 200 police to hotels where about 1,000 Israelis were staying just north of Burgas. A representative of the Ortanna tour company said about 10,000 Israelis had booked vacations in Bulgaria through the firm this summer and about half had canceled after the attack.

The Burgas airport was closed and traffic redirected. In Sofia, the capital, Mayor Yordanka Fandakova ordered a stronger police presence at all public places linked to the Jewish community. Some 5,000 Jews live in Bulgaria, most in Sofia.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/18/bulgaria-bus-explosion-kills-3-israeli-tourists/?test=latestnews#ixzz2161lbhyk

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  malena stool on Thu 19 Jul - 21:05

I've commented before that instead of confronting the Israelis the Arabs would do well to learn from them and turn the Middle East into the Garden of Eden it has the capacity to become.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 22:27

malena stool wrote:I've commented before that instead of confronting the Israelis the Arabs would do well to learn from them and turn the Middle East into the Garden of Eden it has the capacity to become.

Before we were married, my ex-husband spent a few months on a Kibbutz. He had a brilliant time and was simply in admiration of what the Israeli people at done at Ein Gedi.

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BULGARIAN PRESS NAMES BOMBER: DEVOUT MUSLIM MEHDI GHEZALI

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 22:32



Dressed to look like carrot top (the Islamic idea of an American) with the Michigan passport (Dearborn?) The Dearborn imam on the All American Muslim had hizb'allah ties. Islamic supremacists dressed the jihadist mass murderer as a lefty clown. Perf!

When will the world denounce and decry Islamic Jew-hatred as commanded in the quran?

"Bulgarian press names bomber: Mehdi Ghezali" Times of Israel, July 19th, 2012 (thanks to David)

Bulgarian media on Thursday named the suicide bomber who blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists, killing five Israelis and a local bus driver, in the Black Sea resort of Burgas on Wednesday as 36-year-old Mehdi Ghezali.

Ghezali reportedly arrived in Bulgaria five weeks before the bombing and arrived at the airport via taxi, Channel 2 reported. He was also reportedly given the bomb by someone else, but no further details were provided.

There was no independent confirmation of the veracity of the information. The reports surfaced soon after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had publicly accused Hezbollah, directed by Iran, of responsibility for the bombing. The Prime Minister’s Office made no comment on the reports.

The Bulgarian reports, rapidly picked up by Hebrew media, posited various versions of how the bomber had detonated the bomb, including the suggestion that the bomber had not intended to die in the blast, but may have wanted to place the bomb on the bus and flee.

Ghezali has a Wikipedia page, which describes him as a Swedish citizen, with Algerian and Finnish origins. He had been held at the US’s Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba from 2002 to 2004, having previously studied at a Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, it says. He was taken into custody on suspicion of being an al-Qaeda agent, having been arrested along with a number of other al-Qaeda operatives.

Following a lobbying effort by Swedish prime minister Göran Persson, Guantanamo authorities recommended Ghezali be transferred to another country for continued detainment, and he was handed over to Swedish authorities in 2004. The Swedish government did not press charges.

He was also reportedly among 12 foreigners captured trying to cross into Afghanistan in 2009.

Earlier on Thursday the Bulgarian police released a brief video clip that claimed to show the suicide bomber, responsible for Wednesday’s terror attack on a tour bus full of Israeli citizens, walking around shortly before the blast at Burgas International Airport.

The Bulgarian news agency Sofia reported that the bomber was carrying an American passport and Michigan driver’s license, both believed to be forgeries.

Sofia also reported that the Bulgarian Interior Ministry managed to recover the fingerprints of the bomber, which they submitted to the FBI in the United States and the international police organization Interpol. The FBI and CIA joined Israeli and Bulgarian officials in investigating the attack.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told Sofia that DNA tests were being run to determine the identity of the Caucasian man, who the minister described as casually dressed with nothing suspicious about his appearance to set him apart from the crowd of people at the airport.

The ministry did not indicate how the police came to the conclusion that the man was the suicide bomber.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  malena stool on Thu 19 Jul - 22:54

Anna, I've just googled Ein Gedi having never heard of ths place previously, it's surprising what scenic beauty man is able to achieve and maintain in an otherwise hostile wilderness.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  AnnaEsse on Thu 19 Jul - 23:06

malena stool wrote:Anna, I've just googled Ein Gedi having never heard of ths place previously, it's surprising what scenic beauty man is able to achieve and maintain in an otherwise hostile wilderness.

It's a fabulous place. My ex-husband stayed there as a volunteer and worked with the banana crops in return for food, accommodation and a small amount of money.

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Re: Israel blames Iran for Bulgaria bus attack

Post  malena stool on Thu 19 Jul - 23:20

AnnaEsse wrote:
malena stool wrote:Anna, I've just googled Ein Gedi having never heard of ths place previously, it's surprising what scenic beauty man is able to achieve and maintain in an otherwise hostile wilderness.

It's a fabulous place. My ex-husband stayed there as a volunteer and worked with the banana crops in return for food, accommodation and a small amount of money.
It's ideal to enable you to work your way around the world, especially in an area steeped in really ancient history.

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