By Julian Pecquet - 07/18/12 07:43 PM EDT
President Obama condemned Wednesday's “barbaric terrorist attack” on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and vowed to provide “whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.”
An apparent suicide bombing on a bus full of Israeli tourists shortly after they landed in the eastern Bulgarian city of Burgas killed at least six people and injured more than 30 others. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly blamed Iran, the BBC reported, vowing in a statement that "Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror."
In a separate statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "the United States stands ready to offer any assistance necessary, and we will work with our partners in Bulgaria, Israel and elsewhere so that the perpetrators can be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice for this appalling crime."
The bombing occurred on the 18th anniversary of the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that has also been blamed on Iran and follows a string of recent attacks against Israelis around the world, some in apparent retaliation for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. The bombing came up during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Sofia, who reassured senators that the administration expects the eastern European country to do its utmost to find those responsible.
“I think that Bulgaria is a very good and effective security partner for us,” said Marcie Ries.
Here is the president's full statement:
I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, and with the people of Israel, Bulgaria, and any other nation whose citizens were harmed in this awful event. These attacks against innocent civilians, including children, are completely outrageous. The United States will stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.