Attack on Israelis was suicide bomb: Bulgaria

AFP , Thursday 19 Jul 2012

Bulgaria's interior minister says the bomb targeting Israeli tourists was planted on the exploded bus by a suicide bomber disguised as a tourist

A suicide bomber dressed as a tourist carried out the attack on Israeli tourists that killed seven people at Bulgaria's Burgas airport, the country's interior minister said Thursday.

"The explosion was caused by a man who died in the attack and whose identity has not yet been established," Tsvetan Tsvetanov said at the airport a day after the attack, which Israel blames on Iran.

"The suicide bomber, wearing shorts and carrying a backpack, looked like any other tourist. He put his bag in the luggage compartment of the bus that blew up," the minister told a news conference.

"His travel document was a fake driving licence from the (US) state of Michigan."

The blast on Wednesday afternoon ripped through a bus carrying Israeli tourists who had just arrived by plane from Tel Aviv, killing six of them as well as the vehicle's Bulgarian driver and the bomber, officials said.

The attack, the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004 and which came on the anniversary of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina that killed 85 people, also injured around 30 people.

One of those wounded died in hospital, as did the driver, while the others perished at the scene. Two of the injured were still in a coma on Thursday and were transferred to hospital in the capital Sofia.

The others were taken in eight ambulances, a bus and three minibuses to Burgas airport on Thursday morning amid a heavy police presence, to be flown home to Israel, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

"They will be transported by airplane to Israel," said Uri Shacham, an assistant to the director-general of the Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.

Around 20 Israeli paramedics arrived overnight to help treat the wounded. Apart from the flight back to Israel, Burgas airport remained closed on Thursday morning.

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