Israeli tourists arrived at the Sarafovo, Burgas airport in Bulgaria at 4:45PM on a chartered flight 392 of Air Bulgaria from Ben-Gurion Airport. There were 154 of them. By 5:25PM, they had exited the plane, gone through passport control, and walked through the arrivals hall to retrieve their luggage. Exiting the arrival hall they were met by resort representatives who directed them to one of the four special buses in the airport car park that was to transport them to Bulgaria's largest Black sea resort: Sunny Beach.
Unknown to anyone, and wearing checked Bermuda shorts, a blue t-shirt and carrying a small backsack, the suicide bomber blended in seamlessly with the relaxed crowds travelling to Bulgaria's sandy Black Sea coast. He had been in Bulgaria between 4 and 6 days already and carried a fake Michigan driver's license. He was in his mid-20s with long dark curly hair under dark blue cap. He roamed for an hour under the gaze of surveillance cameras through airport buildings and around the car park. As the Israelis made their way to their assigned buses, he settled on a white coloured bus. He joined the Israeli tour group as they put their luggage in the luggage compartment and boarded the bus with them. Just as he boarded the bus, he triggered the 3 Kg TNT bomb that was in his backsack.
Some bus passengers were able to jump out of the bus windows to escape. Others were thrown into the air. Body parts were strewn across the ground, mangled metal hung from the double-decker bus's ripped roof. Its windows were blown out and surrounded by scorch marks. Black smoke billowed over the airport. Everyone was shouting and crying. The scene was one of horrific carnage and chaos.
Six Israeli's, the Bulgarian bus driver, and the suicide (homocide) bomber were killed. 33 Israeli's were injured.
The Bulgarian government agreed to fly 100 of the uninjured tourists home after they opted to end their vacations.
Bulgarian investigators said that they had managed to obtain fingerprints and DNA samples of the bomber and were checking databases in an attempt to identify him. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told parliament he hoped that would be done within a three or four day period.
There are reports in the Bulgaria newspapers that the suicide bomber had two accomplices. The first accomplice is believed to have served as a back-up for the suicide bomber and was ready to replace him if the plot were to go wrong. The second accomplice was assigned to shoot dead the other two if they get arrested by the police or get scared and give up.
Bulgarian authorities say the bomber and the accomplice, who apparently remains at large, arrived by plane about a month earlier. The bomber is believed to have flown in via Germany and the accomplice via Belgium, according to U.S. and European officials.
It has been suggested that something went wrong in the bombing. The question is: Why did the blast go off just as the bomber was boarding the bus. Had it gone off later when he was on the bus and the bus was moving, the death toll would have been much higher. Evidently, the bomber made some move that indicated that he did not want to end up among the casualties of the bombing. His accomplices detonated the bomb earlier than planned as soon as they saw his move.
Reports prepared for the New York City Police Department by intelligence analysts state that the suicide bombing in Burgas was the second plot unmasked there this year that is suspected to be perpetrated by Hezbollah and/or Iran. The report linked Iran or its proxies to nine terrorist bombing plots in 2012 in various countries.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev linked the arrest of a Hezbollah agent in Cyprus earlier in July this year on suspicion of plotting an attack on Israeli tourists there similar to the Bulgaria bombing. Regev said that
In his interrogarion the suspect who was arrested in Cyprus, revealed an operational plan that is almost identical to what happened in Bulgaria. He is from Hezbollah ... this is a further indication of Hezbollah and Iran's direct responsibility.
Israel flew security officials to help with the investigation. The Israeli military sent two planes to Burgas, one with medical crews to provide assistance to the injured and fly them home and another with forensic experts. A third plane with medics from the emergency services was also sent.
The security services at Bulgaria's Burgas Airport failed to prevent the July 18 terrorist attack. Security personel should have been looking for any person who in any way was behaving differently than regular passengers. For more than an hour, the bomber was walking aimlessly, back and forth, in the arrival's hall with a large backpack having wheels on his back and a bag on his front. Ordinary passengers would have stopped to sit and put their bags on the floor. But the bomber carried them continuously, a surely suspicious sign. He was alone. What was he waiting for in the arrival's hall? He should have been questioned.
A week after the bombing there is still no intelligence on the bomber's identity, his accomplices, and his organization. This is a bad foreboding. With no clues, it means that security authorities all over the world are hampered in forestalling the next suicide (homocide) bombing or even guessing where it might take place.
Burgas is Bulgaria's fourth largest city and lies on the Black Sea coast some 60 km (40 miles) from the border with Turkey. It is at the centre of a string of seaside resorts which are popular for their sunshine and low cost compared with many parts of the Mediterranean.
With a population of about 200,000, it is also an important industrial centre and has Bulgaria's sole oil refinery.
The bombing coincided with the 18th anniversary of an Iranian-backed Hezbollah suicide attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
The First Look
Rabbi Glazerson prepared a Torah code table related to this event. He used as an axis key word Bulgaria and found the place in the Torah that had the best meeting, as measured by the Sof software he uses, between an ELS of Bulgaria and an ELS of the key word attack. To his surprise, the ELS for attack continued to a phrase meaning mega attack. In the table he found ELSs for key words from Iran, Tamuz, the Hebrew month of the attack, the Hebrew year (5)772, and terrorist. Using our axis protocol with Bulgaria as the axis term, with Rabbi Glazerson's key words we find the following table which has a p-value of 17.5/10,000. Our table is similar to Rabbi Glazerson's table except that our table is found under the expected number of ELSs constraint which limits the maximum skip an ELS can have and which chooses those ELSs that are closest to the axis key word. So although all of his key words are used, some of the ELSs we found are different than what he found, making our table more compact than his table as measured by our axis compactness measure.