WASHINGTON - American officials on Thursday identified the suicide bomber responsible for a deadly attack on Israeli tourists in Burgas as a member of a Hezbollah, corroborating Israel’s assertions, The New York Times reported.
One senior US official said that according to the current intelligence assessment, the bomber was “acting under broad guidance” to hit Israeli targets. Meanwhile, the UN's Security Council condemned the attack but did not mention Iran or Hezbollah in its statement.
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The US official said that the guideline had been given to Hezbollah by Iran. He estimated that the attack was in retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Iran has blamed Israeli agents. “This was tit for tat,” he said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to Hezbollah as the party responsible for the attack but stressed that Iran was behind the current terror wave.
The Security Council condemned the terror attack "in the strongest terms." In a statement issued on Thursday council members expressed their “deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of this heinous act and to their families."
The statement was issued after Deputy Israeli Ambassador to the UN Chaim Waxman sent a letter to the Council demanding a harsh condemnation of the attack. In his letter Waxman said that the bombing was "part of a gruesome campaign targeting Israelis and Jews around the world" instigated by Iran and Hezbollah.
He noted that the attack was carried out exactly four years after the bombing of the Jewish community center in Argentina that claimed the lives of 85 people and was also perpetrated by Iran and Hezbollah.
He further mentioned nine attacks and plots to hit Israeli targets around the world in the past few months.
Waxman noted that Iran, a UN member state, continues to support and sponsor terror organizations targeting innocent civilians.
While the Security Council failed to mention Iran and Hezbollah in its statement, it left an opening for sanctions on the perpetrators of the attack once they are exposed.
The statement noted that the Council is determined to see the attack's perpetrators and sponsors brought to justice.
It called on all states to cooperate with the investigation in accordance with their international commitments and the relevant UN resolutions.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said Thursday that support for Israel should not be under dispute inside the US and called Wednesday's attack "barbaric and ruthless."
Obama, who had issued a personal statement condemning the attack and phoned Prime Minister Netanyahu to extend his condolences, discussed the attack at an election campaign event in Florida.
Speaking to an audience that included many Jews, Obama said, "I want everybody here to know under my administration, we haven't just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it."
He noted that the US supported Israel while withstanding criticism and noted the close intelligence and defense cooperation. "Now is the time to make sure that we do everything we can to protect Israel's security," he stated.
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