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Bulgaria Attack Round-Up

Iran, Argentina, an Israeli response and more

Adam Chandler
July 18, 2012

Some news on the attack, which has taken on its own subplots.

The first is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quickly blamed Iran for the attack and claims that Israel will respond. While I doubt anyone will figure this as pretext to attack Iran for that other (nuclear) thing that people seem to be talking about, it’s worth watching closely to see what a response will look like.

From another article (translated from Hebrew):

“All indications lead to Iran,” Netanyahu said after the attack in Bulgaria, which killed at least seven people and promised: “We will retaliate forcefully.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said: “The security system will work as hard to get to the perpetrators of this and dispatchers.”

The White House issued a statement (chillingly reminiscent of those from the Second Intifada) that President Obama “condemns such attacks on innocent people, especially children, in the strongest possible terms.”

There is speculation that the bomber may have come from Turkey or Bulgaria, but as Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic notes, Israel suspected Bulgaria (for its vacation resorts that are popular with Israelis) might be a target as early as January of this year.

The other historical item of note is that today is the 18th anniversary of the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, known as AMIA. The bomb killed 85 people and the killers were never brought to justice. From a post by Scroll Editor-emeritus Marc Tracy:

As a quick refresher, Interpol has fingered seven Iranian officials of varying prominence for ordering Hezbollah to bomb AMIA. An Argentine prosecutor named Alberto Nisman has tried to indict several more, including former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Despite that, Iran continues to block a substantial inquiry and denies that any of its citizens were responsible.

Students of the conflicts that involve terrorist organizations (and, by extension, many citizens of the world) know the prevalence of anniversary bombings and anniversary threats. That each atrocious act is a symbolic reminder of another. No one is forgetting Buenos Aires. I imagine no one will forget about Bulgaria either.


Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.