Bulgaria investigators seek clues to suicide bomber's identity
Investigators in Bulgaria are working around the clock to identify the man suspected of killing five Israeli tourists and their bus driver in an airport suicide bombing, the country's interior minister told reporters Friday.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said police were trying to piece together the movements of the suspect, who was carrying a fake Michigan driver's license.
Investigators are also working to analyze the bomb, believed to have been located in a backpack placed Wednesday on the bus in a parking lot outside Burgas International Airport, Tsvetanov said.
Israel has said it suspects Iran or an Islamist militant group such as Hezbollah is behind the attack, a claim that has added to tension between Israel and Tehran. Iran, which has condemned the attack, has rejected Israel's claims.
The bodies of the five Israelis arrived Friday morning in Israel, said ZAKA, the volunteer emergency search-and-rescue organization that had gone to Bulgaria to recover them. The coffins, loaded onto a military plane at Burgas airport, were greeted with a ceremony on arrival at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv.
Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said at the service: "This is a cruel, deliberate and well-orchestrated wave of terror. Its aim is to target Jews and Israelis, to take down human lives, to kill the freedom."
Among the victims was Kochava Shriki, who was on the bus with her husband and had learned that morning that she was pregnant, CNN affiliate Channel 10 reported. Childhood friends Maor Harush and Elior Priess also died, as did Itzik Kolongi and Amir Menashe, two men who were on holiday with their wives.
As Israelis grieved Friday, Bulgaria continued the hunt for clues as to who was responsible.
"At the moment, we are focused on finding the identity of the suicide bomber, and of course from the moment of the blast every single minute and every single hour of his being on the territory of Bulgaria," Tsvetanov said in a news conference broadcast on Bulgarian National TV.
Explosion amid growing Iranian-Israeli tensions
The suspect was a foreigner who entered the country with fake identification documents and had been in Bulgaria for at least four days, he said.
Experts believe the attack was planned for the precise moment and place that it happened, he said, and they are certain from DNA analysis of body parts found at the scene that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.