Netanyahu said that all the evidence points to Iran as the party responsible for the attack. “In the past months we saw Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Kenya, and Cyprus. Exactly 18 years after the attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, in which 85 were killed the Iranian terror continues to hurt innocent people.”
Times of Israel(H/T Liz) “This is an Iranian terror offensive that is spreading throughout the world,” the Prime Minister said, warning that Israel will issue a “strong response against Iranian terror.”
According to initial reports, a bomb was placed in the bus, detonating to murderous effect. The impact was so strong as to damage two other buses nearby, also with Israelis on board. Some initial reports said the attack was a suicide bombing, but the preliminary investigation pointed to the bomb having been placed in a suitcase in the vehicle’s luggage hold. A Bulgarian tour guide was also said to be among the dead.
A Bulgarian charter plane with 170 passengers from Tel Aviv to Bourgas landed at 4:50 p.m. local time, and its passengers boarded buses to take them from the plane to the terminal. The explosion occurred a short time later.
Aron Katz, an Israeli eyewitness, said that a few moments after they got on the bus, “we heard a really loud boom, and felt the bus shake, and we ran off the bus.”
Katz noted that he saw several couples on the bus, some with young children. “I tried to get back on the bus after the explosion to get my daughter’s wheelchair, but they wouldn’t let me. I saw a woman lying unconscious, and tried to wake her,” Katz said, adding that the scene was very chaotic.
Iran and its proxy, Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah, were the immediate prime suspects in the attack. Israel has thwarted numerous Hezbollah terror attacks in recent years. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station was broadcasting details of the bombing, with excited commentary, on Wednesday evening, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
In January, the Foreign Ministry warned of a possible terror plot against Israelis in Bulgaria, urging Israelis to take extra precautions when traveling there. It also asked the Bulgarian government to implement extra security measures to ensure that Israeli tourists remain safe. Last week, a suspected Hezbollah attack on Israeli tourists in Cyprus was foiled by Cypriot authorities.