By SAMARA GREENBERG, inCONTEXT—
Six people were killed and dozens injured Wednesday in a terror attack directed against Israeli tourists in the resort city of Burgas, Bulgaria. The explosion occurred shortly after Israeli tourists boarded a bus at the airport after arriving from Tel Aviv. They were to be driven by four buses to hotels in the city. Of the dead, five people were Israeli and one a Bulgarian bus driver; the seventh dead is the suicide bomber.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly pointed an accusatory finger at Hezbollah and Iran: “For over a year, Iran, along with its protégé Hezbollah, has been waging an international terror campaign,” Netanyahu said, calling Iran “the world’s number one exporter of terror” and Hezbollah its “long arm.” The White House, though not explicitly accusing Tehran, is reportedly concerned with what it sees as an increase in terror activities abroad plotted by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s elite Qods Force in response to intensifying Western sanctions. Iran denied its involvement in the Bulgarian attack.
According to reports, the plot was executed by a suicide bomber who was possibly carrying a fake U.S. passport issued in Michigan. Airport security footage released Thursday shows the suspect as a Caucasian man with long hair. It is believed the bomber, approximately 36 years old, had been in Bulgaria for four to seven days before the deadly attack. Officials are testing DNA from the remains to identify the assailant.
Wednesday’s bombing follows a series of attempted attacks against Israelis and Israeli targets around the world, including in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Thailand, and two simultaneously in India and Georgia. Plots were also uncovered in Cyprus and Kenya, and Israel’s Transportation Ministry earlier this year warned of a potential attack in Bulgaria. In all, over the last seven months, eight plots targeting Israelis across the globe were uncovered.
While evidence clearly proving Iran’s involvement in Wednesday’s attack has yet to be provided, the Islamic Republic and its proxy terror groups have a history of targeting Israelis in a similar manner. No matter who is the mastermind, one thing is for sure: Israelis abroad are being targeted, and at an alarming rate. If terrorists believe it is open season on Israelis wherever they travel, then it should be open season on those who harbor, support, and sponsor these terrorist acts. At a minimum, it is long past time that the UN recognize these kind of attacks against Israeli civilians as terrorism.