Burgas (Bulgaria), July 19: The attack on a tour bus carrying Israeli vacationers outside the airport here was carried out by a suicide bomber carrying fake American identification, officials said today.
There were conflicting reports on the number of dead. The Bulgarian interior minister said the toll was seven, including six Israelis. Officials in Israel said, however, that only five Israelis had been killed. The Bulgarian driver of the bus was also killed along with the bomber when the vehicle exploded in a fireball yesterday. Dozens more were injured in what Bulgaria, Israel and the US called a terrorist attack. Israel quickly blamed Iran and promised a firm response.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Israeli officials blamed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, and Iran.
Speaking to reporters at the airport at this Black Sea resort this morning, interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the bomber was carrying a fake Michigan driver’s license at the time of the blast. One of the six Israeli victims died overnight, along with the 36-year-old Bulgarian bus driver.
Tsvetanov described the bomber as a man with long hair wearing a backpack. He looked like a tourist and blended in with the travellers from Israel, security footage showed. The bomber was a white male wearing glasses and the driver’s license was “more or less intact”, according to a Bulgarian official with knowledge of the investigation.
“He either had turned with his backpack towards the bus when he exploded it or pretended he was one of the group putting his backpack in the baggage compartment under the bus,” the official said. “Video footage clearly shows him in the airport earlier wandering back and forth, following the group, looking nervous.”