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Public Statements

Bulgaria Terrorist Attacks

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC

Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I rise to express my outrage at the recent attack on a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, that killed five Israeli citizens and the Bulgarian driver and injured scores of passengers. This heinous act was obviously the handiwork of terrorists who prey on innocent civilians in order to shock and horrify the world and try to rally some to a twisted, violent ideology. The terrorists must be stopped.

I am equally outraged by the fact that the Burgas attack appears to be the latest in a series of attacks on Israeli citizens. There have been several since the beginning of this year alone, two aimed at Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in February, as well as a foiled plot against tourists in Cyprus the week before the tragedy in Burgas. The attacks targeting Israeli Embassy personnel in India and Georgia fell on the 18th anniversary of a suicide bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people. Argentine authorities blamed that attack on Hezbollah operatives.

All of these attacks have the hallmarks of Iranian involvement or plots by their surrogates. The day after the attacks in India and Georgia, Iranian nationals involved in a bomb-making plot in Thailand were arrested after they accidentally detonated their homemade explosives, severely injuring one of the perpetrators. Thai officials reported that the improvised explosives found in Bangkok were the same as those used in India and Georgia.

I understand that the investigation of the Burgas attack is ongoing and the United States and other countries are working closely with Bulgarian officials. White House counterterrorism chief John Brenan has visited Bulgaria, and, while he did not implicate Iran or Hezbollah in public statements he made while there, he pointed out that both Tehran and its Lebanese surrogate have been implicated in attacks on civilians in the past.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel has ``fully substantiated intelligence'' that the Burgas attack was carried out by Hezbollah. I have not seen that information, but I think that based solely on press reports of results thus far in the investigations of these attacks, one can reasonably conclude that Iran and Hezbollah have been involved--further evidence of Iran's longstanding use of political violence and sponsorship of terrorism to achieve its goals.

According to a recent edition of the Jewish Press, the Director of Israel's Mossad and the Chief of its Shin Bet have said that Iran and Hezbollah have tried to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats, businessmen and tourists in over 20 countries during the past 2 years.

We must stand with the people and the Government of Israel. We must lead the international community in redoubling efforts to assist Israel, and all countries on whose soil these heinous acts are committed, in tracking down the terrorists and bringing them to justice and continue to work to prevent such attacks in the future.

I am confident that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle support our government's work with Israel and the international community to counter Iran's insidious network of terror.

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