For the time being, there is no need for new security measures in Bulgaria, but we have the opportunity to react if necessary, Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov told a news conference of an October 17 meeting of Cabinet security council.
“It was discussed whether the measures that have been taken are adequate. The answer is yes – everything that is being done at the moment corresponds to the currently available information. We are ready to react relatively quickly if the situation changes,” he said.
Denkov said that reports about a Bulgarian taken hostage in the Gaza Strip is being verified.
Earlier on October 17, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bulgaria may have at least one citizen who is being held hostage by Hamas.
“This information has not been confirmed, we are trying to check it very carefully, because there is no point in discussing it if we are not sure that it is actually the case,” Denkov said.
“I personally learned about it very recently,” he said.
Asked whether the evacuation of the Bulgarians from Lebanon is planned because of the threats against Israel by Hezbollah, Denkov said: “Hezbollah has not been activated. There is high tension in the area, but nothing to indicate an escalation. At the moment, the situation is a little calmer than the previous days”.
The October 17 meeting was the fourth meeting at state and government level in Bulgaria where risks to national security were discussed against the backdrop of the attack on Israel by terrorist group Hamas, as well as Russia’s continuing war on Ukraine.
A day after the Hamas terrorist attacks began on October 7, Denkov convened a meeting of Bulgaria’s national anti-terrorism centre. Some days later, President Roumen Radev held a “consultative meeting” involving government and security chiefs, but did not invite leaders of parliamentary groups. This was followed by a meeting convened in Parliament by Speaker Rossen Zhelyazkov, involving government and parliamentary group leaders and security chiefs.
Rapidly after Hamas’s terrorist attacks began, Bulgaria’s government stepped up security at sites in the country linked to Israel and to the Bulgarian Jewish community, as well as sites such as airports and railway stations.
European Council President Charles Michel has convened a special video conference meeting of the European Council on the evening of October 17, in which Denkov will participate.
Michel said that he called the meeting in the light of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attacks against Israel and the unfolding tragic scenes in the Gaza Strip resulting from the siege.
The European Council is expected to discuss providing humanitarian assistance and avoiding a regional escalation of the conflict and any breaches of humanitarian law, engagement with regional actors to seek a lasting and sustainable peace based on a two-state solution, potential security consequences for European societies, and the risk of onward migratory waves to Europe.
Please support The Sofia Globe’s independent journalism by becoming a subscriber to our page on Patreon: