JERUSALEM — Israel is mourning after a suicide bomber in Bulgaria killed five Israelis in an attack on a tourist bus Wednesday. Israel’s leader is talking tough.
Israeli air force planes flew the dead, wounded and survivors of the Bulgaria bus bombing back home. Other flights took Israeli security and intelligence officials to Bulgaria to assist in the investigation.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it is already clear who is responsible.
“Yesterday's attack in Bulgaria was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran’s leading terrorist proxy," he said. "This attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hezbollah. This terror campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents.”
Israel has blamed Iran for several attacks on Israeli targets earlier this year, including bombings in the Republic of Georgia and in India and a failed bombing in Thailand. Officials say a number of attacks have also been thwarted, including in Azerbaijan and Cyprus.
“The world's leading powers should make it clear that Iran is the country that stands behind this terror campaign," Netanyahu said. "Iran must be exposed by the international community as the premiere terrorist-supporting state that it is.”
Iran dismissed the Israeli accusations. A foreign ministry spokesman in Tehran said Iran strongly condemns all terrorist acts. Iranian state television said Israel's accusations were "aimed at creating an anti-Iranian atmosphere."
The bombing in Bulgaria comes as tensions grow over Iran's suspected efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, something Israel sees as a threat to its existence.
Iran says it nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and it has blamed Israel for the murder of several Iranian nuclear scientists.
Netanyahu, who has threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, said the Islamic Republic must be stopped before it is too late.
“Everything should be done to prevent Iran, the world's most dangerous regime, from developing the world's most dangerous weapons,” he said.
The Israeli prime minister said Israel will track down the perpetrators of the bombing in Bulgaria, and they will pay a heavy price.