Deadly Blast on Israelis in Bulgaria Recalls Foiled Attempt in January
The deadly blast that hit a bus carrying Israeli tourists at Bulgaria's Burgas airport on Wednesday revived reports of a foiled bomb attack at the beginning of the year targeting a bus chartered to take Israeli tourists to a ski resort.
Bulgarian authorities foiled a bomb attack targeting a bus chartered to take Israeli tourists to a ski resort, Israeli media reported in the first day of January this year.
The device was found on a bus that was due to transport a group of Israeli tourists from the Turkish border to a Bulgarian ski resort, the Israeli public television reported, as cited by AFP.
Bulgarian troops were deployed in several ski resorts frequented by Israeli tourists after the bomb was found, the report added.
The television station's military commentator said the foiled attack could have been linked to the fourth anniversary of slain Lebanese Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a 2008 car bombing in Syria.
Hezbollah has accused Israel's intelligence service Mossad of killing Mughniyeh.
Meanwhile Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news agency, said on Sunday evening that Bulgarian security services prevented an attack against Israeli tourists in the capital, Sofia.
According to the report, the Bulgarians succeeded, last week, in locating suspicious suitcases that apparently had explosive hidden inside, that terrorists intended to place on board buses carrying Israelis to resorts.
Israel is checking if there is any connection between the attempt and a European terror cell operated by Hizbullah, and if the timing of the attack is tied to the approaching anniversary of the elimination of senior Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, the report added.
A week earlier Dan Shenar, head of security at the Israeli Transportation Ministry, told local Darik radio that a suspicious package found on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria was the cause for Israel's request to boost security over its citizens traveling in the country.
Bulgarian authorities have launched an investigation to determine what was inside the package and who placed it on the bus.
"Two days ago I got in touch with my colleagues in Sofia and asked them to tighten security measures around buses carrying groups of Israeli tourists between airports and hotels or vacation houses. We are well aware that buses are a weak spot in regards to security," Shenar was quoted as saying on Friday.
"This is so because there are excellent security conditions at airports, but the situation is not the same outside them. This is why we made these calls. As far as I understand, local services are collaborating with us."
Bulgaria's official authorities have said they have not received information from Israel concerning possible terrorist attacks on the Balkan country's territory, which reportedly were being planned by Hezbollah.