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The July 18 terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian driver, will not mar relations between the two countries, Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov said Monday.
"Bulgaria and Israel are friendly nations and we will not allow the terrorist attack in Burgas to overshadow our traditionally good ties. Any change in our relations would be a reward for terrorism," said Misezhnikov at a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia on Monday, as cited by BGNES.
On July 18, a suicide bomber detonated bombs inside a bus carrying Israeli tourists at the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas, killing six people and himself. The Israeli government has blamed the pro-Iranian group Hezbollah for the attack.
At Monday's meeting at Bulgaria's Council of Ministers, with Prime Minister Borisov, Bulgarian Economy Minister Delyan Dobrev, and Israeli Ambassador Shaul Kamisa-Raz, Misezhnikov offered his condolences to the family of the Bulgarian bus driver who also perished in the explosion.
The Israeli minister praised the actions of the Bulgarian authorities in the wake of the attack.
"On behalf of the government of Israel and on my own behalf, I would like to thank all Bulgarian services, medics, and citizens who came to the aid of the Israeli tourists hurt in this incident," Misezhnikov stated.
He stressed that his visit to Bulgaria is a positive message urging Israeli tourists to continue visiting Bulgaria.
"Even after such an incident, life and business must continue," Misezhnikov stated.
During the meeting, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov commented on the government's efforts to investigate the Burgas bus bombing.
"We are working actively with representatives of the best services in the world in order to uncover the identity of the perpetrator," Borisov said.
"Israeli tourists are important for Bulgaria not so much for economic reasons but because Bulgaria is like a second fatherland for them, and they feel good here. It is crucial that we not allow any such incidents in the future," he added.
Bulgaria’s negligence in securing the safety of its many Israeli tourists reflects a wider culture of mismanagement – and whether anything will change as a result of this tragedy is unlikely.
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