Wednesday’s terror attack in Bulgaria, in which five Israelis were killed, was carried out by Hezbollah and directed by Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday afternoon.
At a press conference called shortly after many of those injured in the attack were flown home, Netanyahu described Iran as “the world’s number one state exporter of terrorism.”
“The most dangerous state on earth must not attain the most dangerous weapon,” he said, in reference to Iran’s nuclear drive.
A senior defense official said later Thursday that Hezbollah was definitely the group behind the attack. He added that though there was no specific alert about Burgas, there was a high likelihood of such an attack taking place.
The source said that since last year Israel has thwarted 20 attempts to attack Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, adding that Israel was in the midst of a terror wave and there was no telling when it would be over.
Netanyahu began the short press conference by thanking the Bulgarian leadership for its rapid and constructive response to the bombing at Burgas airport, and praised those Bulgarians “who saved lives” in the aftermath of the blast.
“It is in these moments that friendship is measured,” he said. “Bulgaria is a true friend.”
He slammed Israel’s terrorist enemies: “They murder innocent citizens — families, young people, children, people who went on a summer holiday — and whose only sin is that they are Israelis and Jews.”
Wednesday’s attack was part of a global terror campaign pursued by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah for more than a year,” he said. “It knows no borders,” he added, reeling off a long list of locales where attacks had been attempted, on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. He mentioned India, Thailand, Kenya, and Azerbaijan among other countries, ending with the US, where an attempt was made on the life of the Saudi ambassador.
“I think it is time that all the countries that know the truth — not just Israel — and say so: Iran is behind the wave of terror attacks. Iran is the world’s number one terror exporter.”
He said Israel would demand “a heavy price” from those who dispatched the terrorists. Israel would not be defeated, he said. “We’ll fight Iranian terror,” he said. “We’ll fight it with great force.”
Speaking soon after Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called Iran the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror and pledged that Israel would respond “with force and precision against those who plan and execute such attacks.”
“We have no intention to forgive and forget,” said Liberman in an interview to Army Radio Thursday afternoon.
Liberman dismissed suggestions that Hezbollah committed the attack in order to divert attention from the goings on in Syria, asserting that the Lebanon-based terror group had no need for special motivation in order to attack Israeli and Jewish targets.
“Hezbollah knows that we don’t make empty threats,” said the foreign minister. “Its officials are already hiding underground. [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah doesn’t dare leave his bunker.”