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Terrorism & Security

Israelis fear more attacks abroad in wake of Bulgaria bus bombing (+video)

Confidence appears to be growing that the Bulgaria bus bombing was part of an Iranian and Hezbollah campaign against Israeli interests abroad.

By Staff writer / July 20, 2012

This image taken from security video provided by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry on Thursday, July 19, purports to show the unidentified bomber (c.) with long hair and wearing a baseball cap, at Burgas Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, on Wednesday, July 18.

Bulgarian Interior Ministry/AP

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Video of Bulgarian bus bomb victims arriving in Israel.

The identity of the suicide bomber who blew up a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria remains unknown, but the conviction is growing that he was linked to Hezbollah and Iran, and with that a belief among Israelis that there will be more attacks like this.

Investigators are working off of a fake Michigan driver's license and fingerprints to identify the bomber. Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced at a news conference today that the bomber was not a Bulgarian citizen, although officials are still unsure of his nationality, Reuters reports. He also said investigators were following several leads, including one that the man was working with an accomplice, and denied earlier reports that the man was linked to a local Hezbollah cell.

The Bulgarian prosecutor disclosed yesterday a man believed to be the bomber tried to rent a car in a nearby town prior to the attack, but the rental agency turned him down because his license appeared suspicious, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Tsvetanov said that the man had been in the area for at least four days before the attack.

IN PICTURES: Hezbollah 

Bulgarian authorities have released CCTV footage from the airport that shows the man they believe to be the bomber wandering the terminal with a baseball cap, T-shirt, and plaid shorts. He is carrying a bulky backpack believed to contain the bomb, AP reports.

Those who encountered the bomber prior to the attack – the rental agency agent who refused to rent the bomber a vehicle and the taxi driver who took him to the airport – said the man seemed calm and nothing in his behavior flagged him as suspicious, according to AP and Agence France-Presse.

An anonymous US official told The New York Times yesterday that the bomber was a member of a Hezbollah cell in Bulgaria – which Tsvetanov denied at the news conference today – acting on orders from Iran to strike any Israeli target that presented itself. 

“This looks like he was hanging out for a local target, and when this popped up he jumped on it,” the official said, referring to the bus carrying the Israeli tourists.

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