The July 2012 suicide bombing terrorist attack at Bulgaria’s Bourgas Airport, in which five Israelis and a Bulgarian died, had been planned outside the country and Bulgaria had been only the “platform”, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry chief secretary Kalin Georgiev said on September 14.
The terrorist attack was the first of its kind in post-communist Bulgaria and by extension, also the first since a train bombing in the 1980s.
Israel has blamed Hezbollah and Iran for the terrorist attack while Bulgaria is reserving judgment pending completion of an investigation.
Georgiev told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio that the country was as secure as the United States, United Kingdom or any other country that has been the location of a terrorist attack.
He said that since computer-generated identikits of the suicide bomber and an alleged accomplice had been distributed, there had been “thousands” of communications with the Interior Ministry, some of which had been very helpful. Georgiev declined to disclose further details.
He underlined that Bulgaria was leading the investigation and that other countries were helping “in every way”.
Georgiev’s statements came a few days after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov led a delegation of 11 Cabinet ministers on a visit to Israel where a number of agreements were signed between Bulgaria and Israel, including one on improving security for Israeli visitors to Bulgaria.
The agreement, according to Israeli media, includes provisions for training of Bulgarian personnel for security duties at tourism sites, intelligence exchanges, and increased security measures at airports and bus stations.
Israeli and Bulgarian media have reported that ahead of Rosh Hashanah, security around Israeli citizens is being stepped up.
Israeli website YNetnews reported that the country’s counter-terrorism bureau had recently asked security and government authorities in Bulgaria and Thailand to step up security around Israeli tourists. Similar requests have been made to Greece and Cyprus.
No advisories against travel to these countries have been issued, but Israelis have been advised to avoid Turkey, Azerbaijan and a number of African countries, among themN igeria and Kenya.