Bulgaria blast survivors back in Israel

2012-07-19 21:17
Security video provided by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry purports to show the unidentified bomber, with long hair and wearing a baseball cap, at Bourgas airport. (AP Photo/Bulgarian Interior Ministry)

Security video provided by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry purports to show the unidentified bomber, with long hair and wearing a baseball cap, at Bourgas airport. (AP Photo/Bulgarian Interior Ministry)

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Tel Aviv - More than 30 Israelis who were wounded in a suicide bombing at a Bulgarian airport on the Black Sea, arrived back in Tel Aviv Thursday after being flown home by the Israeli air force, officials said.

They arrived back at Ben Gurion airport just 24 hours after they had left on what was supposed to be a holiday, but which turned into a nightmare of bloodshed and violence that claimed the lives of six people, five of them Israelis.

Zaki Heller, a spokesman for Israel's Magen David Adom emergency services said paramedics had evacuated from the airport 36 Israelis wounded in the Black Sea resort town of Bourgas to various hospitals in Israel. Two of whom were in moderate condition, while the rest were lightly injured.

Another three victims who were severely injured in the bombing were being treated at hospitals in the Bulgarian capital, with a foreign ministry official saying medics would have to decide if they were fit to fly back.

Foreign ministry officials said the bodies of the five Israeli victims, whose identities have not yet been made public, would arrive back in Israel in the late evening.

"I would have lost my life in a split second, had I not jumped out of the bus's window," survivor Moshe Moseri told the Israeli news website Walla, describing scenes of horror with "corpses on the floor with their arms and legs severed".

"There are five Israelis dead, as well as the Bulgarian bus driver and another person, probably the terrorist," said Ilana Stein, deputy spokesperson at the Israeli foreign ministry.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov confirmed the toll, telling a news conference that the seventh body was that of "the suicide bomber." They had earlier said the explosion was caused by a bomb planted on the bus.

Deadliest since 2004

Wednesday's explosion targeted a bus load of Israeli tourists who had just landed in Bourgas airport on a flight from Tel Aviv, in what was the deadliest attack on Israelis overseas since 2004.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Lebanon's Hezbollah militia for carrying out the attack in conjunction with Iran.

"Yesterday's attack in Bulgaria was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran's leading terrorist proxy," Netanyahu told a news conference in Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon.

"Iran is the country that stands behind this terror attack."

Stein said it was the second attempt to strike Israelis on European soil this month after an earlier plot was uncovered by the authorities in Cyprus.

"This is the second attempt in Europe and we are wondering if the European Union will put Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force onto its list of terrorist organisations," she said.

For now, Israel was dealing with the humanitarian aspects of the bombing, but was likely to raise the issue with the Europeans at a later stage, she said.

Read more on:    bulgaria  |  israel  |  security  |  bulgaria bus blast  |  religion
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