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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Bulgaria’

Israel Tightening Security Measures At Home And Abroad

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Israel’s global intelligence apparatus is being stretched thin as Iranian- controlled Hizbullah terror squads and pro-Assad Syrian chemical warfare teams are threatening to attack more Israeli citizens abroad and within Israel itself.

While high-ranking Israeli security officials have denied British media reports that the Mossad had sent a counterterrorism team to London to prevent an attack on Israel’s Olympic athletes, the Israeli media claimed that the Olympic squad is being guarded by elite British police, Mossad operatives and their Shin Bet colleagues.

In the wake of last week’s suicide attack by Hizbullah against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, Mossad, CIA and MI5 agents have been combing European cities for two additional members of the Hizbullah terror team who escaped to another European locale. Israeli military correspondents report that the hit squad in Bulgaria could be part of a larger team, which might be en route to the Olympic Games to perpetrate another Munich-style massacre.

In related developments, Israeli and American investigators are trying to match the Bulgarian suicide bomber’s DNA to their criminal databases, and Bulgarian authorities are reporting that a mysterious Russian-speaking woman had also assisted the Hizbullah terrorists in Burgas.

Last Sunday Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said that Iran and Hizbullah have tried to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats, businessmen and tourists in over 20 countries during the past two years. The Mossad and Shin Bet also said that Hizbullah terrorists were temporarily thwarted from launching an attack on Israeli citizens in Bulgaria earlier this year.

Meanwhile, leading members of the rebel Free Syrian Army told Western news agencies that pro-government military forces had moved a significant portion of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal to a select number of air force bases, where medium- and long-range missiles could launch attacks on Israel or “foreign invaders.” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already informed Obama administration officials that Israel will possibly launch preemptive attacks against Syria’s chemical and ballistic missile installations if Israeli military intelligence detects an attempt by Assad to pass on unconventional weapons to Hizbullah or if he tries to draw Israel into a full-scale regional war.

Steve K. Walz

‘Christians and Jews’ Pays for Jewish Agency, Chabad, Security Upgrade

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has given $1 million each to the Jewish Agency and Chabad to help them guard against anti-Semitic and terrorist attacks.

The money will go to fund infrastructure upgrades and security measures for Jewish communities around the world that are unable to fund security expenses on their own.

“There is no one group that has accepted responsibility for security of Jews around the world. The Jewish community is not stepping up to provide security,” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of IFCJ, told JTA. “This has become a major need to sustain Jewish life around the world and it is going to continue to grow.”

Chabad will use its $1 million to create a central security system to protect its emissaries and upgrade security in its facilities that are at the most risk, according to Eckstein. The Jewish Agency will distribute its money via grants using an application process, he said.

The announcement of the grants came a week after a suicide bomber attacked a bus full of Israeli tourists at an airport in Bulgaria. Eckstein said that in recent months his organization provided $100,000 to Bulgaria through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to provide for the poor in the community as well as to upgrade security.

The IFCJ says it has given approximately $45 million for security-related issues in Israel and elsewhere since 2003, the year that bombings carried out in Istanbul, including some targeting synagogues, killed 67 people and injured hundreds.

JTA

The Terrorist Argued with her Husband and Was Blown Up by Remote Control

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

While the hunt continues for the terrorist cell that helped carry out the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, new testimony from one of the Israeli women injured in the attack sheds new light on the investigation. Gilat Kulangi, who lost her husband Itzik in the attack, says that moments before the explosion, the terrorist was arguing with her husband and a friend, took their bags out of the trunk and put his own in instead. “An operator activated the load by remote control,” Kulangi told investigators.

Israel’s Channel 2 News has reported that Gilat Kulangi, who sustained serious injuries herself, has been telling relatives who came to her bedside at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel, that only seconds before the attack, her late husband and his good friend, the late Amir Menashe, were arguing with the terrorist over storage space on the tour bus.

“He came over to the bus, pushed their bags aside and put his own bag down,” she related. “They started to argue with him – and that’s when his operator, who saw them from a distance – activated the explosive load.”

At this point authorities are verifying Gilat’s testimony, together with a report that the terrorist had attempted to rent a car at the airport. According to this report, the employee at the car rental desk became suspicious of the terrorist and refused to rent him a car. After he had seen his picture in the news, the desk clerk informed police.

Presumably, if the terrorists had been trying to secure a vehicle for himself, he did not have any intention of committing suicide.

The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that the terrorist who commanded the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, is rated now as the highest threat to the London Olympic games.

He is reported to have carried at one point a U.S. passport under the name of David Jefferson. The assumption is that he may be carrying a similar charge to the one that was used in the attack on Israeli tourists.

Jacob Edelist

Bulgaria and Israel to Strengthen Strategic Cooperation on Tourism and Security

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov, together with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, at a joint press conference held on Monday in Sofia, Bulgaria, announced that Bulgaria and Israel will strengthen strategic cooperation in the areas of tourism and security.

Minister Misezhnikov, who arrived in Bulgaria at the head of a delegation of senior representatives of the Israeli tourism industry, thanked the Bulgarian Prime Minister on behalf of the Israeli Government for the effective care given by the Bulgarian Government to the terror victims, and for the competent investigation of the attack.

During the press conference, the minister stated that the terrorists, who tried to damage the relations between the two countries, must not be allowed to succeed, and that the answer to terror is to strengthen the ties in all areas.

President Plevneliev stated that, in his talks with US President Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, it was stressed that those responsible for the terror attack would brought to justice. According to the President, the Bulgarian authorities are fully cooperating with the United States and with European security forces, who are now following intelligence warnings regarding the Olympic Games in London.

Government representatives from Israel and Bulgaria will meet in Jerusalem in September to discuss bilateral cooperation. In October, the Bulgarian President will arrive in Israel on a state visit.

Bulgarians holds a soft spot for Israeli vacationers and vice versa. During the first half of 2012, there was an 11% increase in tourists from Bulgaria to Israel as compared to the same time last year. According to data from the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, nearly 139,000 Israelis visited Bulgaria in 2011. In 2011, more 8,000 Bulgarian tourists visited Israel.

On Tuesday morning, Tourism Minister Misezhnikov will hold an official memorial ceremony at the site of the terror attack and lay a wreath on behalf of the Government of Israel. The minister will meet with the governors and mayors of Burgus and Varna, the two main tourism destinations for Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria. In addition, the minister will tour the hotels and entertainment areas in the region frequented by Israelis and meet with the heads of the Jewish community in Bulgaria.

Jewish Press Staff

NYPD Increasing Protection of Jewish Sites After Bulgarian Bombing

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The New York City Police Department is stepping up its presence at synagogues and in Jewish neighborhoods the wake of yesterday’s deadly bus bombing in Bulgaria, reports NY1.

The website cites NYPD officials who say that critical response vehicles have been re-deployed as a precaution.

Residents of the Upper East Side told NY1 Thursday morning that increased police presence has become a routine sight.

“I think there’s usually a very large police presence in this neighborhood anyway, so I didn’t really notice that much of a difference. I mean, I do notice sometimes that they’re more here than in others, there’s more of a presence, but I think it’s to be expected,” said an Upper East Side local.

The NYPD says there are no specific threats against the city.

City police took similar precautions in March, after three children and a rabbi were gunned down in Toulouse, France.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Peres Says ‘Israel Will Act against Terror’ as Dead, Wounded Return Home

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

President Shimon Peres said in response to the deadly attack in Bulgaria that Israel will “locate and act against terror all over the world,” as the wounded and dead began arriving in Israel.

“This was a bloody attack against civilians going on vacation. Many of them lost their lives, others were wounded for no reason, for no purpose. They were attacked for the simple and unacceptable reason that they were Jewish or Israeli,” Peres said.

“We will not forget, we will not ignore and we will not give up. Israel will locate and act against terror all over the world. We have the capabilities for it and are committed to act. We have the ability to silence and incapacitate the terror organizations. Anywhere in the world where it is possible we shall build friendship and anywhere in the world where it is necessary we will chase murderous terrorists. We will uproot terror both near and far.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday morning that of the seven dead, five were Israelis, one was the bus driver and one the suicide bomber.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday that Israel has concrete information that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group carried out the attack.

Meanwhile, two Israel Defense Forces airplanes arrived in Israel carrying 32 of the wounded Israelis. Two remain in Bulgaria, too seriously injured to travel.

A third commercial airliner brought home the 70 Israelis who escaped injury in the attack.

The dead have not yet been positively identified, according to reports.

JTA

Bulgaria Terror Victims Evacuated to Israel, World Leaders Condemn Attack, Israeli Leaders Warn Iran

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Israeli rescue teams have gathered the 33 Israelis wounded in Wednesday’s terror attack on a tour bus in Bulgaria, and evacuated them home to Israel for treatment.

The death toll in the bombing of the bus of Israeli tourists is now being listed at 8, with one injured person succumbing to wounds in hospital. A ZAKA rescue service spokesperson told Israel’s Army Radio that the remains were difficult to identify.  Five Israeli victims will be flown home for burial Thursday evening after completion of the formal identification process. Now that their families have been notified, their names will all be publicized.

ZAKA victim identification teams continued to retrieve body parts Thursday in order to give them proper burial, despite the confusion of Bulgarian officials who did not comprehend the value of the painstaking work.

The suspected suicide bomber, pictured in an image captured from video at the Burgas airport near the Black Sea by Israel’s Rotter news agency, was carrying a driver’s license and passport placing his residence in Michigan, but both are believed to be fraudulent.  The Caucasian male, with long blonde hair is believed to have milled around the airport for approximately an hour waiting for Air Bulgaria flight 392 to arrive from Ben-Gurion Airport, and then detonated a bomb carried on his person as he boarded their tour bus.  Previous reports had indicated that he could have placed a bomb in the baggage compartment underneath.

Two victims are too badly injured to be transported and will remain in Sofia for treatment at this time.  The rescue teams and the wounded were expected to arrive in Israel at noon on Hercules transport planes.  Additional planes carrying other Israeli tourists, including some who wanted to abandon plans in Bulgaria in the wake of the attack, were also expected to arrive in Tel Aviv. Bulgaria also announced that a government airbus plane would be put at Israel’s disposal to fly Israelis home.

Videos of the aftermath of the attack have surfaced on Youtube, showing a bus engulfed in flames and helpless bystanders at a loss as to what to do.

– WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT

Investigations are underway by Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence organizations, as well as the FBI and CIA.

World leaders issued condemnations of the terror attack, with US President Barack Obama calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say “I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria”. Earlier in the evening, President Obama used the opportunity to state that “the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people”.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited Israel this week, called the attack “heinous”, and condemned in the “strongest terms”.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms,” but did not demonstrate the outrage and disgust he showed for a bombing of churches in Kenya just two weeks ago.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov Burgas expressed his condolences and urged Israelis to continue vacationing in Bulgaria, describing his country as “one of the friendliest nations” to Israel, calling Wednesday’s attack a one-time incident, and saying that if Israelis would shy away from the country which borders Greece and Turkey to the south, Macedonia and Serbia to the west, and Romania to the north, “this is what the terrorists want to achieve.”  Bulgaria is a vacation hotspot for Israelis, especially teenagers.

Prime Minister Netanyahu placed the onus of the attacks on Iran, and warned that the “global terror state… must face the consequences of its actions.”  He was supported by Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich who said “there is no doubt that the instability in the region is created by Iran aiming especially for Israelis and Jews throughout the world.”

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio that Israel has information that shows beyond all doubt that Hizbullah conducted the attacks in close coordination with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadienjad’s Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak went further to blame the Iran proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah, for the attacks and vowed that Israel would use all of its power to find the masterminds behind the attack and bring them to justice.  He urged Israelis to understand the importance “that we do not lose our stamina, nor the ability to understand that we have to live, and urged Israelis “to live their normal lives despite all the pain.”

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bulgaria-terror-victims-evacuated-to-israel-world-leaders-condemn-attack-israeli-leaders-warn-iran/2012/07/19/

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