Israel to react powerfully against Iranian terror

Jerusalem: Israel today warned Iran that it would "react powerfully against Iranian terror" as it held Tehran and Lebanese group Hezbollah responsible for a deadly attack in Bulgaria that killed seven people, including five Israelis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who linked the blast to a string of attacks on Israelis across the globe including in India, said, "This is an Iranian terror campaign that is spreading throughout the world".

"All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Eighteen years exactly after the blast at the Jewish community centre in Argentina, murderous Iranian terror continues to hit innocent people. This is an Iranian terror attack that is spreading throughout the entire world," he said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reinforced the claims saying that Israel has solid information that Hizbullah, in close cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out the terror attack in Burgas. Israel`s information identifies with "certainty and beyond all doubt" the Iranian fingerprint on the attack, Lieberman told Israel Radio without elaborating further. In an unusually tough remark, Israel`s President Shimon Peres said that Israel will hit terror nests around the world.

"We were witnesses to a deadly terror attack coming out of Iran … we know there were other attempts, and this time they succeeded," the president said. "It (Israel) has the means and the will to silence and paralyse terror organisations," Peres asserted. However, Amir Oren, an analyst for daily Ha`aretz, accused Netanyahu of trying to hide a failure trying to turn it into an accomplishment by pointing fingers towards Iran.

Had the Israeli intelligence, aided by local services, not failed in exposing and foiling the plot, the Counter Terrorism Bureau (which is part of the Prime Minister`s Office) would have issued a travel warning under the name "Bulgaria", to be disseminated worldwide, Oren noted. Barring such a warning, and with no heightened security in Burgas, it is safe to assume that those who planned and executed the attack managed to conceal their activities ? intelligence gathering ahead of the operation, training a suicide bomber or an operative to plant the explosives, and smuggling weapons, the analyst pointed out.

Israel`s counter-terrorism bureau issues travel advisory for Israeli tourists from time to time grading the level of threat depending on intelligence inputs. Meanwhile, thirty two Israelis who were wounded in attack on Wednesday at Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, landed in Israel today afternoon. Five Israelis were killed in the attack and 34 wounded, two of them seriously who continue to be treated in Bulgaria.