[11:35 a.m., Haaretz] According to Bulgaria’s interior minister, five people were killed in the attack and 33 were wounded, 3 of whom are in critical condition.
“We are currently preparing a list with the names of the people on the flight, in order to identify the victims,” he said.
For more, visit Haaretz.com.
[11:15 a.m., JTA]: At least seven passengers reportedly were killed in an explosion on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in what is being described as a terrorist attack.
Israeli and Bulgarian outlets reported that as many as seven people were killed in the explosion Wednesday afternoon at Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, a city on the Black Sea Coast popular with Israeli tourists. At least 27 passengers have been rushed to the hospital, reported the Bulgarian news agency Novinite.com. The explosion hit one of three tour buses carrying Israelis, Israel’s Channel 1 reported. Some 40 people are reported to have been on the bus.
The explosion occurred while the bus was still in the terminal. Some news reports said a suicide bomber boarded the bus as it was taking the Israeli tourists to the terminal. Others quoted Burgas Mayor Dimitar Nikolov as saying that explosives were in the luggage area of the bus.
The explosion occurred on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead.
Israeli search and rescue teams have been dispatched to Burgas, including a delegation from ZAKA, the Israeli rescue and recovery service.
Novinite.com reported that Bulgarian authorities foiled a bomb attack in January on a charter bus for Israeli tourists heading from the Turkish border to a Bulgarian ski resort. A bomb was found on the bus.
[11:10 a.m.] Ehud Barak: “We have been tracking the intentions of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranian groups and the Islamic Jihad to carry out attacks across the world for quite some time. We have a long struggle with them, which includes many successes, as well as difficult days. Today is one of those difficult days. It is important that Israelis continue to travel across the world, continue to travel in Israel and live their normal lives despite all the pain.”
[11:05 a.m.] Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, expressed condolences for the victims of the attack.
“The first reaction is condolences to our brothers and sisters – [it’s] another day, another time in which Israelis are targeted,” Cooper said.
“Today’s attack is a reminder that the international community needs to work with Israel in combating international terrorism, Cooper said. “We’re calling upon President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to immediately reverse the terrible mistake they made in allowing the Global Counter Terrorism forum to exclude Israel,” Cooper said, referring to a recent Global Counterterrorism Forum, a platform for counterterrorism experts to share insights, which excluded Israel.
[11:00 a.m., Reuters] An explosion in a bus carrying Israeli tourists which killed at least four and injured dozens at the Bulgarian airport of Burgas was a deliberate attack, national radio BNR quoted Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov as saying.
The police were investigating two possible causes of the blast - that an explosive device was put in the bus before the tourists boarded or that the explosives were in the tourists’ luggage, the radio quoted Tsvetanov as saying.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Louise Ireland
[10:12 a.m.] The Simon Wiesenthal Center released a statement that expresses condolences to the victims of the attack, and calls upon the Obama administration to include Israel in the international fight against global terrorism.
“Today’s deadly attack, which took place on the 18th anniversary of the Iran-sponsored terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, must serve as a warning that the international community must never isolate Israel when it comes to the battle against global terrorism.
“The United States has a special obligation not to become an enabler of those who wish to make Israel a pariah state. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton should immediately and publicly reverse the terrible policy decision that allowed the exclusion of Israel from the Global Counter Terrorism Forum,” the statement reads.
[9:55 a.m.: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding security consultations following the terror attack in Bulgaria.
The Prime Minister said: “All signs point towards Iran. Over the last few months we have seen Iran’s attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other countries. Exactly 18 years to the day after the horrendous attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina, deadly Iranian terrorism continues to strike at innocent people. This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react firmly to it.”
The Prime Minister sends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.
[9:45 a.m., Haaretz]: “I am shocked and saddened by the news about the explosion in Burgas in which there are casualties. I am following news the news constantly.” - Kristalina Georgieva, Bulgaria’s EU Humanitarin Aid Commissioner
[9:25 a.m., Haaretz]: Death count reaches seven, according to Bulgarian television.
For more, visit Haaretz.com.
[9:00 a.m., Reuters]: Three people were killed and over 20 injured by an explosion on a bus carrying Israeli tourists outside the airport of the coastal city of Burgas on Wednesday, Bulgarian authorities said.
The mayor of the city, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, said the bus was carrying Israeli tourists, but police could not immediately confirm their nationality. Police said several other buses at the site had been damaged.
“Initial information showed three people have died, there are injured,” a spokeswoman for the interior ministry said.
An Israeli witness said in an interview with Israeli army radio that the explosion was probably caused by a suicide bomber at the entrance of the bus.
Bulgarian police said it was investigating and could not say at this point what caused the explosion.
Bulgarian national radio said many people were injured in the blast. Burgas airport was closed after the incident and flights were redirected to the airport of Varna, police said.
Israeli officials had previously said that Bulgaria, a popular holiday destination for Israeli tourists, was vulnerable to attack by Islamist militants who could infiltrate via nearby Turkey.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Louise Ireland