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Update: Travelers to Bulgaria Cancel Trips After Bombing

July 19, 2012

The New York Times is reporting that yesterday's attack on a tour bus carrying Israeli vacationers outside Bulgaria's Burgas airport was carried out by a suicide bomber using fake American identification.

The story also notes that there are conflicting reports on the number of dead: The Bulgarian interior minister said the toll was seven, including six Israelis, while officials in Israel said that only five Israelis had been killed. The Bulgarian driver of the bus was also killed along with the bomber when the vehicle exploded in a fireball on Wednesday. Dozens more were injured in what Bulgaria, Israel and the United States called a terrorist attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israeli officials blamed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Iran. Bulgarian officials, however, were more cautious. “We’re not pointing the finger in any direction until we know what happened and complete our investigation,” Nickolay Mladenov, Bulgaria’s foreign minister, said in interview.

In the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, home to most of the 5,000 Bulgarian Jews in the predominantly Christian country of more than seven million, the mayor ordered police deployments in all public places linked to the Jews, The Associated Press reported. 200 police were sent to hotels where about 1,000 Israelis were staying just north of Burgas. A representative of the Ortanna tour company said about 10,000 Israelis had booked vacations in Bulgaria through the firm this summer and about half had canceled after the attack.

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