America has praised Bulgaria for its handling of the bus bombing last week outside its main tourist airport in Burgas, which killed 5 Israeli holidaymakers and the Bulgarian bus driver, as well as injuring scores more. Israel has blamed Iran and Hezbollah for carrying out the attack and although the US stopped short of doing that, their involvement in attacks on civilians was strongly condemned.
President Barak Obama’s Advisor on Homeland Security, John Brennan, saluted the ‘professionalism’ of Bulgaria’s own Security and Intelligence services in leaving no stone unturned in the investigation. On a scheduled trip to the country, he repeated words written by the President at a press conference in the capital Sofia, saying the attack was a terrible reminder of the dangers that allies face.
He said “… I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise the significant counter-terrorism co-operation between our two countries…Bulgaria has proven to be a committed partner to the United States, sharing information and investigative resources to counter terrorism, combat organised and cybercrime, and interdict illicit narcotics and financing operations"
CCTV images showed the suicide bomber - a white male wearing a blue T-shirt and baseball cap with a black rucksack - mingling with other tourists as just after they’d all landed in Bulgaria from Israel. They all got on a bus in the airport car park, when the blast ripped through the vehicle.
Israel blamed Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah for the attack. Brennan said the US is ‘very concerned’ about their activities. Brennan said “There are clear indications that Hezbollah and Iran have been involved in terrorist plotting against innocents in many parts of the world, and this is something that we condemn…’
New York Police has stepped up its counter-terrorism efforts on Jewish areas and institutions, over concerns of attacks from Iran if tensions between all three countries escalate further.