Thursday, July 19, 2012

Suicide bombing on Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria

Yesterday a suicide bomber blew himself up on a tourist bus outside Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, killing 7 people besides himself, amongst them 5 Israelis.

Seven people were killed in an attack on an Israeli tour bus at the Sarafovo International Airport in the Bulgarian vacation city of Burgas on Wednesday afternoon. More than 30 were injured, three of them critically.
A bomb was placed in the bus, detonating to murderous effect. The impact was so strong as to damage two other buses nearby, also with Israelis on board. Some initial reports said the attack was a suicide bombing, but the preliminary investigation pointed to the bomb having been placed in a suitcase in the vehicle’s luggage hold or affixed to the side of the bus.
Israeli officials, from the prime minister on down, said Iran was to blame for the attack. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman specified that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was responsible.
Israeli medical teams were flying out to Burgas late Wednesday.
Nearly all the casualties were understood to be Israelis, but one of the dead was said to be a Bulgarian. Ten Israelis were in surgery in Bulgaria late Thursday.
Israel canceled all commercial planes to Bulgaria and upgraded security for all flights in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport.
The bomber was seen on security cameras walking around inside the airport for an hour before the attack, and was carrying a fake American passport and driving licence. 

The Times of Israel has a very good live blog (which I think stopped updating last night local time) which gives you more details.

Today, Israeli medical and rescue teams flew out to Bulgaria to bring the dead and wounded home.

As for the UN, besides a proforma condemnation from the UN spokesman, the Human Rights Council and its director Navi Pillay didn't see fit to say a word in condemnation of the attack.

I blogged about the attack both yesterday and today and you're invited to hop over to my place to read more detail, or open the links I provided here for mroe information.

I hope Israel catches those responsible and deals out swift justice forthwith.

UPDATE: I just spotted this on the Times of Israel (they're an excellent new Israeli e-paper):

The bomber is a Swedish citizen with a history of Muslim extremist activity. (assuming the Bulgarians haven't made a mistake).

Bulgarian media on Thursday named the suicide bomber who blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists, killing five, in Burgas on Wednesday as Mehdi Ghezali.
There was no independent confirmation of the veracity of the information. The reports surfaced soon after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had publicly accused Hezbollah, directed by Iran, of responsibility for the bombing.
Ghezali was reportedly a Swedish citizen, with Algerian and Finnish origins. He had been held at the US’s Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba from 2002 to 2004, having previously studied at a  Muslim religious school and mosque in Britain, and traveled to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
He was also reportedly among 12 foreigners captured trying to cross into Afghanistan in 2009.

Wow. Just last week the Cypriot authorities arrested a Swedish man of Lebanese origin for plotting terror attacks against Israeli tourists. Sound familiar? Same modus operandi. Same target. Same country of origin.  The Swedes have a problem on their hands.


  1. Another Gitmo graduate. How nice.

  2. I didn't realize that anyone had ever been released from Gitmo.

    Strangely enough I was watching BBC's "Spooks" on TV a few days ago (it's like a British 24) and after the good guys capture teh wrong guy, they are told "But didn't you realize he was carrying an American passport?", to which they replied "American passports are so easy to fake". This is life imitating art unfortunately.

  3. RE: Rosenthal ... she's about as anti-Israel as anyone the administration could find...and of course, being Jewish of the self-apologetic kind, she asserts credibility therefore. She should be right at home with the folks in Malmo, Sweden, and I don't mean the few Jews left there (who should leave now unless they are suicidal).

    It is not a coincidence that this bomber had Dearborn Michigan identify documents on him....there is a fairly strong connection between Lebanese and Iraqi's in Malmo, Sweden and Dearborn, Michigan, USA.

    If I were the "authorities" in this case I'd not be so quick to call the documents forgeries, because they may be legitimate but carried and used by someone other than the original owner. In short, why would they forge documents with Dearborn, Michigan, on them? Why not Peoria, Illinois or Butt-Lick, Utah (Harry Reid's hometown):D ?

    "Sharing" identity documents is common enough here (Dearborn, Michigan, USA) that we old timers have joked that when a new family of 12 shows up, they get one driver's license and all use it.

    Sorry, but this time I'm not inclined to defend my neighbors generally regarding this connection. I have a horrible gut feeling about it. Fact is, on my street there is a rented house that almost overnight has tripled the number of people living there, and the sudden new additions, with their half dozen additional little kids, barely utter word in English. I am goiong to ask bluntly just who all the newbies are by the end of the week. I know the landlords well. If I get an answer I don't like, I'll be dropping a dime ... and I know just where and how to do that.

    1. I knew you'd have some good input in this Aridog, since it's to do with your hometown. But in this case the perp is actually Swedish. So unless you've got a lot of sinister looking Swedes trotting about, (and from his mugshot he didn't look sinister at all. Rather cute in fact) I doubt that he came from your area. Of course the papers could well be authentic and be "lent out" as you say. In fact, as soon as I read that he carried a Michigan drivers licence I thought of you. :D.

      Well, not you personally of course... :p

    2. He's no more ethnically Swedish than I am. And, yes we do have a lot of "Swedes" wandering around here who look exactly like him. They don't all wear Palestinian Crying Towels, ya' know :D He might be a Swedish citizen. Malmo is a northern outpost for the future Caliphate if the dominant ethnicity there is any measure. People there have specific connections to people here, among the Shiite community, and thus to Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Period. Netanyahu is right about those linkages.

      However, he was found carrying Dearborn, Michigan, USA identity documents and he didn't acquire them by accident. Considering how large the USA is geographically, how likely is it that a forger for Shia' Islamic Terrorists would pick Dearborn, Michigan ...of all places? Even feral dogs don't crap where they eat or sleep. No, this time I think the youthful shithead was just stupid, and I fervently hope that ninja clad FBI guys show up at a house near me and take away the real owners of the documents. I seriously d-o-u-b-t the documents were forgeries .... they were borrowed at best, but legitimate otherwise. Then the question comes'd they get from Dearborn to Malmo to Bulgaria?

      Never mind how this schmuck got out of Gitmo and his history since that time. BTW "gut" instincts on stuff like this are rarely wrong. Regrettably.

    3. Do you reckon his passport was fake like the authorities are claiming? Or was that borrowed too? And if so, how did he ever get past the TSA and passport control in the USA?

    4. I reckon both the driver's license and passport were real. Photos can be manipulated ... hell, mine even has a more recent photo of me just stapled to it. Items like that can be mailed anywhere in the world, no? How'd he get by TSA and Customs in the USA, if here?...easy, using a Swedish passport.

      I don't know that he was here, I just believe that the documents he was found with came from here, for real. No other reason for it "forger" worth spit would intentionally tag the home town of the majority of Shiites in the USA.

  4. The names of the victims have been released:

    The five Israelis killed in Wednesday’s terror attack are Amir Menashe, 27; Itzik Kolengi, 27; Maor Harush, 26; Elior Priess, 26 and Kochava Shriki, 42, Israel announced Thursday evening.

    The first two are from my hometown (Hebrew link). Kochava Shriki was 44 and was pregnant for the first time after years of trying. 5 minutes before she was murdered she had phoned her sister to tell her the good news. It's beyond awful.

    1. At the same times of Israel link there is link to a piece saying the Bulgarians are now denying that the bomber was Mehdi Ghezali.

    2. Thanks, I just saw that. I'm waiting to hear official confirmation from Israel. They're a lot more reliable in this kind of information.

      Meanwhile, if he wasn't the bomber, why would he or anyone else be wandering around Burgas airport with fake American ID? Nobody has explained that little lacuna.

  5. OK, here are the latest updates about the ID of the bomber.

    Sweden is denying that Ghezali is the suicide bomber, as are the Bulgarian authorities themselves.

    UPDATE 2: The New York Times reports:: US confirms Israel's blaming of Hezbollah in bomb attack. (h/t @challahhuakbar). See also Challah Hu Akbar's updated post for more details.

    1. If the driver's license shown on Challah Hu Akbar's site is the one taken from the bombers body, where did the "Dearborn, Michigan" stuff that is all over the Internet come from? The "PASS" card shown is Swedish, not US, so we have to wait to see the US Passport (a US PASS Card is valid only for land or sea travel between Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the USA ... but may be carried as "ID" as I carry mine, because no address is shown)? I'd like to know if the Passport has a Dearborn, Michigan address? Or not?

      Now that license pictured is a fraud, apparently a real license crudely modified ... a number of things on it are wrong, besides the address issue ...the operator license number does not match the name ... the numbers here begin with the first letter of the holder's last name, in short, "Martin" does not begin with "A". It is a manipulated license, NOT a forged license. A forger would not make the name/number error, nor the address mistake.

    2. Apparently the whole rumour about Ghezali came from Facebook. (!!). I'm still not sure how the Michigan part came to be mentioned.

      According to the NYT and Israeli media, the US confirms Israel's original suspicion that the terrorist was sent by or funded by Hezbollah. Nothing else concrete is known though.

  6. "Kochava Shriki was 44 and was pregnant for the first time after years of trying. 5 minutes before she was murdered she had phoned her sister to tell her the good news."

    The way I feel about this, and what I wuold like to say, is what got me essentially booted from another place.

    I will not repeat it here, but I think you all know what I mean.

    1. It's OK, Dances. I know what you mean and I certainly can identify with your feelings. The frustration and anger can get overwhelming sometimes.

    2. KMFRHBAP.

      There, I said it for dances. ;)

      [Expanding the acronym is left as an exercise for the reader. Solution available in 3 days on request, email only.]

    3. I think I've deciphered the K, M, and F. I'm pondering the rest.

      I too know what you mean Dances. The news of these senseless deaths in Bulgaria stunned me; when I learned that an unborn child had also been murdered, I felt sick beyond words.

      Annie, thanks for such good coverage and excellent commentary on this tragic, cowardly act of violence.

  7. Given the awful events in Colorado, I'm not immediately sure which is worse, killings which have a discernable political motive, or ones which don't. Maybe just two categorical things, not directly comparable, like rotten egg stench vs nails on a chalkboard screech - both ugly.

    That said, if I had to discern a message... Hezb'allah is in a precarious position in Lebanon. Their patrons in Syria are on the ropes. The Russian perspective is more or less correct; the "west" (Europe, the US, the Turks, and the Gulf Arabs) is fighting a proxy war against the Syrian regime. My only quibble with the Russians is that they think it's a bad thing.

    The "audience" for this act of terror might not be Israel at all - simply a warning to Lebanese factions not to try to capitalize on Hizb'allah's loss of Syrian sponsorship. Hzb will be hard to resupply through Syria in the future; absent a way to ship in more rockets, the next barrage against Israel will be their _last_. (Recall how fast Hzb was resupplied after the 2006 war. That won't happen again if the pencil-necked dentist dork named "Assad" goes swinging from a lamp post.)

    So Hzb may simply have been reminding everyone that the're still around, and bad motherf*****s.

    Hzb must be made to pay a much, much steeper price than they expected to pay if Israel wants to avoid becoming the "medium" in an intra-lebanese "message" session.

    1. I'm only just catching up on international (i.e. outside Middle East) news and heard about the Colorado shooting. It's simply dreadful. Like you, I too am not sure which is worse, politically motivated or just random senseless killing.

      I think your analysis of Hezbollah, Syria, Iran etc. is pretty much on the mark, though I think there are other factors at play too in this complicated deadly game of chess. But I agree 100% with your conclusion re paying the price.