Bulgarian Bus Bombing Suspect Had Fake U.S. License
"We don't know" who is responsible, Bulgaria's U.N. representative says.
Bulgaria Bombing Suspect (July 19, 2012)
Israel said it suspects Iran or an Islamist militant group was behind the attack, which occurred Wednesday in a parking lot outside Burgas International Airport in Bulgaria. Tensions between Israel and Tehran have been escalating in recent months.
In a televised statement Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was "perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," as part of a global campaign that has reached a dozen countries on five continents.
But he offered no evidence. Israel's U.S. Embassy said Wednesday that it had no proof that Iran was the instigator of the attack.
Netanyahu said Hezbollah and Iran have been trying to foment terrorism in countries that include Kenya, India and Cyprus, as well as in the United States, where an Iranian tried to kill the Saudi diplomat.
He urged world powers to expose Iran as "the premier terrorist-supporting state that it is" and prevent it from developing "the world's most dangerous weapons," a reference to its nuclear program.
"We will continue to fight against the terrorists and exact a heavy price from those that support them," Netanyahu said.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said Israel was engaging in "baseless accusations against other countries in order to distract the attention of the international community from its terrorist activities being carried out throughout the world," according to a statement from the state-run IRNA news agency.
"The Zionist regime as master of state and organized terrorism has its hands in (the) blood of innocent Lebanese, Palestinian and other nationalities," Mehmanparast said.
The Iranian Embassy in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, said earlier that Israeli suggestions that Tehran was involved in Wednesday's attack were "unsubstantiated" and that the assertion was politically motivated.
The identity of the man thought to have put a backpack bomb on the bus remained a mystery, but he was carrying a Michigan driver's license that FBI officials say was fake, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said.
Fingerprints were being checked, and investigators were at the scene to collect evidence, he said.
Meanwhile, a third and final Israel Air Force aircraft left Bulgaria Thursday for Israel, this one carrying coffins holding the bodies of the victims, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
The aircraft was to land at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, where the coffins were to be received in an official ceremony.
Thirty-three Israelis wounded in the blast arrived earlier Thursday in Tel Aviv.
Maj. Gen. Itzik Kreis of the Israel Defense Forces said at the airport that one of the wounded was in critical condition.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned of consequences for those responsible.
"We will find those who executed this attack and those who sent them," he said.
At the United Nations, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack.