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Death toll stands at 7 in Bulgarian bus blast: foreign ministry

(Xinhua)

09:28, July 20, 2012

SOFIA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The number of victims of the attack at Burgas Airport has risen to seven, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday, a day after the powerful blast which injured more than 30 other Israeli tourists.

"This includes the Bulgarian driver of the doomed bus. Five of the victims were Israeli citizens. The seventh was likely a suicide bomber," the ministry said in a press release on its website.

On late Wednesday night, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov held a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, the ministry said.

The two prime ministers believed this attack is a threat against both countries, and expressed their sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims, the ministry added.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on Thursday held a telephone conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

According to the ministry, the main message of their conversation was that this attack cannot spoil the good relations between Bulgaria and Israel and should not be turned into a victory of terrorism over peace.

Earlier in the day, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters that a suicide bomber likely carried out the bombing attack, saying that "we have established a person who was a suicide bomber in this attack. This person had a fake driving license from the United States."

An Israeli Air Force Hercules transport aircraft landed near Tel Aviv in the afternoon, after a four-hour flight ferrying 33 Israelis wounded in the suicide bombing.

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