(WASHINGTON) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he suspects Iran was behind a deadly explosion aboard a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria today.
“All the indications are that Iran is behind this deadly attack,” the Israeli leader said, just hours after at least three people were killed in a fireball aboard a bus at an airport in the eastern Bulgarian city of Burgas.
Just minutes before Netanyahu’s statement, other Israeli officials said it was unclear if the explosion was the result of a terror attack. But Netanyahu said the new explosion was just the latest in a “consistent pattern” of Iran-backed attacks targeting Israelis around the globe.
Over the weekend a Lebanese man was reportedly arrested in Cyprus for allegedly planning to attack Israeli targets there in a plot that Netanyahu also said was part of “Iranian terrorism.”
In recent months, agents suspected of plotting deadly attacks on behalf of Iran have been arrested in the U.S., Azerbaijan and Thailand.
For its part, Iran has repeatedly blamed Israel for being behind the assassination of several of the country’s top nuclear scientists in recent years.
In his statement, Netanyahu also noted that today marks the 18th anniversary of a bombing attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina — an attack the Israeli government blamed on Iran.
The White House today condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the deadly attack in Bulgaria, but did not comment on who was responsible for the blast that struck a bus of Israeli tourists.
“The United States condemns such attacks on innocent people, especially children, in the strongest possible terms,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “The president’s thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and those injured.”
Carney stressed that the U.S. stands with the people of Israel and Bulgaria. “Going forward, the United States will support our friends and allies as they confront terrorism. And of course our commitment to Israel’s security remains unshakable,” he said.
Carney confirmed that the president has been briefed on the attack, but did not have any information on who was responsible. “I don’t have information yet on anything specific to the incident itself, if in fact it was terrorism and who was responsible for it,” he concluded.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kareem Khadder, CNN
James Griffiths, CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Gul Tuysuz, CNN