The suicide bomber who killed six people in an attack on an Israeli bus at Burgas airport last Wednesday, July 18, had accomplices and may have entered Bulgaria from Europe’s Schengen passport-free area, said Bulgarian Prime Minister Boygok Borisov. He spoke Tuesday at a new conference with visiting US presidential anti-terror adviser John Brennan. He said the bomber and his accomplices, blamed by Israel on Iran and HIzballah, were “extremely experienced” – which strengthened Israel’s accusation of Hizballah and Iran.
They apparently came a month in advance, said the Bulgarian prime minister, “changed hire car again and again and stayed in different cities so as not to be seen together. No camera footage shows more than one person.”
“There was no stopping it,” said Borisov, “unless the Bulgarian services had come by chance upon the explosive while it was being prepared,” he said, suggesting the bomb was most probably made in Bulgaria.
There were no fingerprint or DNA matches in databases around the world.
“We don’t not know categorically his identity.”
The coroner put the age of the bomber between 25 and 30+ and said he had fair skin but could have been of Arab origin.
On July 18, shortly before the attack, long-haired man in shorts was caught strolling through the airport by a security camera. A few minutes later, three buses picked up a group of holidaymakers just arrived from Tel Aviv to take them to a hotel in the Bulgarian town of Burgas. One was blown up by the long-haired bomber, releasing deadly debris and a fireball which hurled burning passengers in every direction. Five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed on the spot and more than 35 passengers injured, four critically.
The papers found on the terrorist’s body – a US passport and Michigan driving license – proved to be fake – more evidence of experience and a competent terrorist organization behind the attack.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak straight away accused Iran and pledged a strong response. Israeli security would reach the perpetrators and their masters, they said.
Brennan and Borisov said Tuesday they are awaiting the results of the investigation before they point fingers.
After the attack, Israel’s security chiefs briefed the government on 20 terrorist attacks mounted by Iran and Hizballah in the last two years against Israeli targets world wide, including India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Georgia, Kenya and Cyprus. Until Burgas, they were all thwarted except for an attack which wounded the wife of an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi.
Iran, Syria and Iran were reported by Israeli intelligence to be planning to up their terrorist campaign against “strategic” Israeli targets in the future, including Israel's Mediteranean oil fields – in step with the worsening war situation in Syria and a potential attack on Iran’s nuclar program
Nonetheless, the European Union turned down an Israeli request to blacklist Hizballah as a terror group in the wake of the bombing, although Hizballah is already on the United State blacklist.