The suicide bomber that detonated a device in Burgas was carrying a fake Michigan driver's license, Bulgarian officials said Thursday, soon after they released footage of the attacker.
Six people, including five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver, were confirmed dead in the worst attack on Israeli citizens abroad in nearly a decade.
The bomber - shown on security cameras with long hair, a baseball hat and sunglasses - wore a large backpack and a smaller back in front of his body and can be seen putting his bag onto a bus filled with Israeli tourists moments before the blast.
"In no way did this person distinguish himself from the arriving tourists who were in the area," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters Thursday, adding the Bulgarian authorities were working with the F.B.I., the C.I.A., Israeli intelligence services and Interpol on the investigation.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both released statements Wednesday night condemning the "appalling" and "barbaric" attack and offering assistance to Bulgarian and Israeli officials in the investigations.
Even Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in, saying the attack was "a sobering reminder that the scourge of terrorism continues to threaten all free people."
However, the U.S. has been reticent to immediate blame Iran for the attack. Israeli instead immediately named Iran and its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah, as responsible for the bombing, saying quick redemtion was in store for the perpetrators.
"The direct perpetrators are Hezbollah and, of course, Iranian sponsorship is above them all the time," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday. "Israel will do all it can to find those responsible and punish them, both those who carried it out directly and those who dispatched them and mete out punishment."
However, Iran and Hezbollah both denied the claims today with Iranian State TV saying the accusations were "ridiculous" and "sensational."
Bulgaria and Bulgas in particular has become a popular tourist destination for Israelis in recent years. Earlier in 2012, another bus containing Israeli tourists en route to a ski resort was targeted, but the attack thwarted. Just days ago, a Hezbollah member was arrested on suspicion of planning to kill Israelis in Cyprus.
Tsvetanov said DNA evidence from the bomber has been collected and the authorities are in the process of identifying the attacker.
by RTT Staff Writer
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