Sarafovo airport in Bulgaria remains closed on Thursday 19th July and flights from Israel to several countries in the East of Europe have been diverted while security forces and medical assistance pour in to deal with a blast which killed several passengers on a bus at the airport.
According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, five of those killed in the blast were Israeli, one was the Bulgarian driver of the bus and the seventh fatality, a suspected suicide bomber. The Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov spoke with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on the telephone shortly after the tragedy to discuss the matter, and both called the blast an attack on their two countries.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack:
“All signs point towards Iran. Over the last few months we have seen Iran’s attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other countries. Exactly 18 years to the day after the horrendous attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina, deadly Iranian terrorism continues to strike at innocent people. This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react firmly to it.”
65 uninjured Israelis are being transported back to Israel on a Bulgarian government airbus and an Israeli Air Force Hercules aircraft is carrying 33 injured Israeli citizens back to Israel.
According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the victims arrived in Bulgaria from Tel Aviv on an Air Via charter flight number 392 at 4:43pm local time. On board were 154 passengers, including 146 adults and eight children. Among the passengers were one Italian, one Slovak and one US citizen. All the others are citizens of Israel.