Israel sending experts to assist Bourgas bomb investigation, plane to take injured home

Written by on July 18, 2012 in Bulgaria, News, World - No comments

Israel’s foreign ministry has formed a team of experts to fly to Bourgas and assist local authorities in the investigation of the bomb explosion that left a reported seven people dead on July 18 2012.

Israel also was reported to have organised an aircraft to fly to Bourgas to return home those injured in the blast and able to travel.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said, “this terrible incident is a shock to all us. Nothing can justify the deaths and injuries of innocent people.”

“I express my sincerest condolences to the relatives of the dead and sympathies to the victims for their pain. At this tragic time, the people of Bulgaria feel the grief of the relatives of the dead and injured. I pledge that we shall investigate this incident so that those responsible may be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

Bulgaria would continue to fight against all forms of terrorism, which cannot under pretext be justified. “We shall work to guarantee the security of every Bulgarian and foreign citizen in this country,” Borissov said.

The tourists arrived in Bulgaria from Tel Aviv on an Air Viva charter flight № 392 at 4:43pm local time. On board were 154 passengers, including 146 adults and eight children. Among the passengers were one Italian, one Slovak and oneUScitizen. All the others are citizens ofIsrael.

Bulgarian authorities are working on the theory that this was a terrorist attack.

There has been no confirmation of a Bulgarian media report that the tour operator had received a telephone threat ahead of the arrival of the tourists, allegedly saying that they would be welcomed with two bombs.

Separately, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that Bulgaria had received no advance signals about possible terrorist attacks.

Acts of terrorism are practically unknown in Bulgaria’s history in recent decades. The most recent was a train bombing about 30 years ago.

Security at the Israeli embassy in Sofia and Jewish community centres was stepped up, and additional security measures were imposed at other Bulgarian airports, rail and bus stations after the blast. The website of Sofia Airport ran a ticker message asking passengers to arrive two hours before their flight times, adding that the airport was operating “under a normal regime with stricter security measures”.

Media reports quoted Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov as saying that he would ask the UN Security Council to condemn the Bourgas Airport bomb attack.

On July 18, US president Barack Obama said: ” I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, and with the people of Israel, Bulgaria, and any other nation whose citizens were harmed in this awful event.”

These attacks against innocent civilians, including children, are completely outrageous, he said.

“The United States will stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people,” Obama said.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said that France condemned the terrorist attack in the strongest terms, describing it as a “heinous and cowardly” act. He expressed condolences to the relatives of the dead and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

“In these tragic circumstances, France manifests its solidarity with the Israeli authorities in the fight against hatred and terrorism.” France expressed its full support to the Bulgarian authorities in the knowledge that they would make every effort to identify, arrest and bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack.

(Photo: Vammpi)

 

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About the Author

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015).