Bulgarian government visit to Israel key to investigation into Bourgas Airport terrorist bombing – President Plevneliev

The visit on September 10 and 11 2012 to Israel by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and a large number of Cabinet ministers is of key importance to the development of the investigation into the July terrorist suicide bombing at Bourgas Airport in which five Israeli citizens died, Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said.

“I am convinced that when the Bulgarian delegation returns, they [the members of the delegation] will find time and a way to inform society about the development of the investigation into the terrorist attack,” Plevneliev told journalists on September 11.

Some days ago, Plevneliev said that more information about the investigation into the terrorist attack would be made public around mid-September.

Israel has insisted that the terrorist attack was the work of Hezbollah, on the orders of Iran. Bulgaria, however, continues to be cautious about apportioning blame for the attack on the Israeli tourists, in which a Bulgarian bus driver also died.

At a joint news conference on September 11, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Bulgaria had met all of Israel’s expectations in dealing with the aftermath of the terrorist attack and said that the friendship between the two countries had been evident.

“You met all our expectations – you personally and your government,” Netanyahu said, according to a report by news agency Focus. “Your people, your doctors – all of you met our expectations,” Netanyahu said, adding that “we should be undivided in the fight against terrorism”.

“Today is September 11, the day of the biggest terrorist attack. We know that terrorism poses a risk for the entire world and the countries with principles should stay together to win. We will win,” he said.

He said that Israel has categorical evidence that Shiite group Hezbollah stands behind the terrorist attack at Bulgaria’s Sarafovo Airport.

“We have undisputable information that the attack was committed by Hezbollah. This is an attack planned for another county and against tourists,” Netanyahu said.

“We know that it is Hezbollah and we know that Iran works closely with Hezbollah,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Borissov said that Bulgaria’s investigators were continuing to work on the investigation of the terrorist attack.

“We co-operate closely with the US, Israel, the UK and all services, to get categorical data. Those who committed the attack against the Israeli citizens, should be found and punished,” Borissov said.

“We do not have enough information to say who did it,” he said.

“I explicitly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Bulgaria will always stand against every terrorist, terrorism, or country, which produces terrorism, if there is enough evidence proving it. At the moment we do not have enough evidence and thus we continue the intensive work on the investigation in co-operation with all services that can help in this case,” Borissov said, speaking after private talks with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said: “There is a difference between the information we have and what information we release, because the announcement of this information may put the source of this information at risk”.

An identikit of the suicide bomber has been released internationally, as has one – also posted on the website of Interpol – of an alleged accomplice in the terrorist attack.

Computer-generated image of the face of the Bourgas Airport terrorist suicide bomber


Identikit image of the alleged accomplice of the Bourgas Airport suicide bomber, distributed by Interpol at Bulgaria's request

Meanwhile, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio said that at a meeting on September 11, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Israel’s public security minister Yitzhak Aharonovich agreed that bilateral relations in the sphere of internal security were improving.

Aharonovich expressed thanks for the efforts of Bulgarian law enforcement authorities in the investigation and in preventing such attacks in future.Bulgaria and Israelsigned a declaration on co-operation in cases of emergency situations and rescue activities.




Clive Leviev-Sawyer

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), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.