US President Barack Obama condemned as a "barbaric terrorist attack" a deadly bus bombing Wednesday on a group of Israelis in Bulgaria that Israel has blamed on its arch-foe Iran.
Obama did not mention Iran in his written statement but reaffirmed America's "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people."
"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," he said.
"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."
Obama later delivered the same sentiments to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly, in a phone call.
At least six people were killed and many more wounded in the attack on a bus packed with Israelis at a Black Sea airport in Bulgaria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "all signs point to Iran" after an official in Jerusalem said the bus at the Burgas airport was shot at and an explosive device thrown.
"Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror," Netanyahu said. "In the past few months we have seen attempts by Iran to harm Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited Israel on Monday and held talks with Netanyahu on the last stop of a nine-nation tour, said she was deeply saddened and angered to learn of the attack.
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms this heinous terrorist attack against innocent civilians," she 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."
White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking earlier, did not explicitly back Netanyahu's claim about Iran, saying Washington was still gathering facts about the incident and that Obama has been briefed on the blast.
The attack came on the anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and wounded 300. That attack was also blamed on Iran, which denied the charge.
by Michael Mathes Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Jul 18, 2012