RIMANEWS-ABC News’ Alexander Marquardt and Dragana Jovanovic report: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suspects Iran was behind a deadly explosion aboard a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria today.
“All the indications are that Iran is behind this deadly attack,” the Israeli leader said, just hours after at least three people were killed in a fireball aboard a bus at an airport in the eastern Bulgarian city of Burgas.
Foreign intelligence sources told ABC News the Bulgarian government had months ago received a warning from Israel and Russia that an attack may be imminent and, in response, security was stepped up at the Israeli embassy in Bulgaria’s capital city of Sophia, more than 200 miles west of Burgas.
Just minutes before Netanyahu’s statement, other Israeli officials said it was unclear if the explosion was the result of a terror attack. But Netanyahu said the new explosion was just the latest in a “consistent pattern” of Iran-backed attacks targeting Israelis around the globe.
Over the weekend a Lebanese man was reportedly arrested in Cyprus for allegedly planning to attack Israeli targets there in a plot that Netanyahu also said was part of “Iranian terrorism.”
Last month, two Iranian nationals were picked up in Kenya for allegedly plotting to attack U.S., Israeli, Saudi or British targets there, according to a report by The Associated Press. In recent months, agents suspected of plotting deadly attacks on behalf of Iran have also been arrested in the U.S., Azerbaijan and Thailand.
For its part, Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel for being behind the assassination of several of the country’s top nuclear scientists in recent years.
In his statement, Netanyahu also noted that today marks the 18th anniversary of a bombing attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina — an attack the Israeli government blamed on Iran.
The White House said condemned “in the strongest possible terms” what it called an attack on innocent civilians, but Press Secretary Jay Carney said the White House does not know if it was terror-related.
Bulgaria is known as a popular tourist destination for Israelis, the AP reported.[Ach/ABCnews]