Bulgaria denounces the firing of rockets against populated areas and targeting of civilians, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said on November 12, reacting after the “Islamic Jihad” group launched at least 160 missiles against Israel following the killings of one of the group’s leaders.
“These acts are totally unacceptable and must stop immediately.Urgent de-escalation is crucial to put an end to the continuing cycles of violence and avoid catastrophic consequences,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.
Islamic Jihad said one of its leaders was killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday.
The group’s armed wing confirmed the death in a statement after Israel said it had targeted Bahaa Abu el-Atta, 42, in a strike, Deutsche Welle reported.
In a message on Twitter, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said: “The intense rocket fire from Gaza against southern and central Israel this morning in response to the killing of an Islamic Jihad commander represents a dangerous escalation in an already tense regional situation”.
In an advisory note to Bulgarian citizens on its website, the Foreign Ministry said that a red code for rocket fire and deepening conflict has been announced in Israel.
It recommended that Bulgarians temporarily suspend plans to travel to Israel, and that Bulgarian tourists in Israel should strictly follow the local government’s security instructions.
The Foreign Ministry said visiting places in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and near the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights was strongly not recommended.
It said on arriving at accommodation in Israel, all tourists should inquire about the presence of bomb shelters in the area.
In the event of sirens warning of a rocket attack, people should take the shortest possible route to the bomb shelter and await the all-clear. If there was no shelter or it could not be reached in time, people should hide behind the nearest wall or barrier, to prevent harm from potential explosions or shrapnel.
“In all cases, the instructions given in such cases by law enforcement and / or military units should be followed,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.
If needed, Bulgarian citizens could contact the Bulgarian embassy in Tel Aviv for assistance, the ministry said.
On Twitter, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” said: “We stand in solidarity with Israel and steadfastly affirm its right to self-defence and protection of its citizens from unacceptable terrorism emanating from Gaza”.