The deadly terror attack on Israeli holidaymakers in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgas was perpetrated by Hezbollah, Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said Thursday in a televised address to the nation. Iran has vehemently denied any involvement.
“This attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hezbollah. This terror campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents,” Netanyahu said.
He called on the international community to take action against Iran, saying, “Iran must be exposed by the international community as the premiere terrorist-supporting state that it is. And everything should be done to prevent Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, from developing the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
He vowed that Israel would not succumb to terrorism. “Israel is a strong country and the people of Israel are a strong people. We’ll continue to fight against the terrorists and to exact a heavy price from those who support them.”
While Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast formally rejected accusations of Tehran’s involvement in the attack, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad possibly alluded to it on Thursday, saying, “The Zionist enemy attempts to hit Iran with blow after blow and is hit harder.”
Ahmadinejad continued, “The enemies of Iran have initiated confrontation and are attempting to use all of their powers against Iran, but the Islamic regime continues to stand strong.” He was apparently referring to the assassinations of Iranian scientists and a spate of computer viruses detected in Iranian facilities.
“I assure the Iranian people that the government will not back down on its principles and values against these materialistic nations,” he said, in what could be interpreted as a hint that Iran does not intend to change its nuclear policy, despite ongoing negotiations with the West.
Mehmanparast said Thursday that the charges of Iranian involvement in the attack were aimed at diverting world attention from Israel’s role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.
“The Zionist regime, which had a direct role in the assassination of our country’s scientists, is leveling baseless accusations to divert global attention to its own terrorist nature,” Mehmanparast told the IRNA news agency. “The Zionist regime is even ready to pursue its political scenarios by putting at risk the lives of people inside or outside the occupied territories.”
Mehmanparast said Iran was itself the biggest victim of terrorism and believed that terrorism “endangers the lives of innocents, is inhumane and so strongly condemns it. Iran’s position is to condemn all terrorist acts in the world.”
On the campaign trail in Florida on Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama described the Bulgaria bombing, which left five Israeli tourists dead, as “barbaric” and a “ruthless terrorist attack.”
“I want everybody here to know under my administration, we haven’t just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it,” Obama told voters in Florida. “This is a moment of great uncertainty in the Middle East, given what’s happening in Syria and given what’s happening in other places. Now is the time to make sure that we do everything we can to protect Israel’s security.”
The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously condemned the terror attack.
“Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, no matter the motives for them, where, when and by whom they are carried out,” a statement by the Security Council said. “The perpetrators and organizers, as well as those who finance such reprehensible acts of terrorism must be brought to justice.”
The Middle East Quartet – the U.N., the EU, Russia and the U.S. – also condemned the attack, saying it was “an act of cowardice against innocent people, including children.”
“The members of the Quartet look forward to the apprehension of the perpetrators and their being brought to justice,” the statement said, adding that the Quartet supported all international efforts to assist the Bulgarian authorities and others in this effort.
“This attack provides a reminder of the need for the members of the international community to stand side by side in the effort to prevent terrorism wherever it may be practiced,” the statement said. “The Quartet will continue its effort to reach comprehensive, just and lasting settlement in the Middle East, where all the people will live in peace and security.”
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