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Seven Killed in Terror Attack on Israeli Tourists in Bulgaria

By YnetNews.com, IsraelNationalNews.com, VOA News

At least seven people were killed and more than30 others were injured Wednesday in a terror attack on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas, some 400 kilometers east of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Bulgarian media reported that the explosion took place while the bus was still in the terminal of Sarafovo Airport.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that, "All the signs are pointing to Iran. Only in the past few months we've seen Iran try to target Israelis in Thailand, Indian, Georgia, Cyprus and more. "The murderous Iranian terror continues to target innocent people. Iranian terror is spreading worldwide... Israel will react to it with force," he said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the Israeli defense establishment will not rest until the perpetrators are apprehended. He added that "Our defense forces will act to track down the perpetrators and masterminds behind this act of terrorism," he vowed. "It's a very severe attack. We've been following terrorist organizations – Hizbullah, Hamas - as well as Iranian and global jihad elements who intend to engage in international terrorist attacks. We're engaged in a bitter battle with many victories alongside bad days like today."

Former United States Ambassador to the UN John Bolton believes that Israel is poised to launch a direct attack on Iran. Bolton, appearing on Fox news, said Israel will go after Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said police were investigating two possible causes of the blast - that an explosive device was put in the bus before the tourists boarded or that the explosives were in the tourists' luggage.

According to media reports, an 11-year-old child and two pregnant women were among the injured. Fortunately, the pregnant women were lightly injured. The evacuation of the injured has been completed. According to the Magen David Adom emergency services, a total of 35 Israelis were injured in the attack - three are in serious to critical condition.

The Foreign Ministry said six people were killed when the blast went off, and another person died at the hospital. Bulgarian news agencies said a tour guide and the driver of the bus were among those killed. Following the attack, the Shin Bet suspended all flights bound for Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Greece, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said that during a meeting held about a month ago, Mossad representatives did not warn Bulgarian officials of the possibility of a terror attack, the Sofia News Agency reported. Plevneliev stressed that Bulgarian authorities took all the appropriate measures to protect the terror attack victims.

The blast took place at 5.30 pm, on one of three buses shuttling Israeli tourists across the terminal. Bulgarian media aired conflicting reports on the nature of the explosion – whether it was perpetrated by a suicide bomber or by an explosive device, detonated remotely.

The Israeli Embassy in Sofia has been mobilized and is ready to assist the team, which includes ZAKA disaster recovery officials, in identifying the victims and ensuring that the injured and other Israelis that were unharmed return to Israel as soon as possible.

Shoshi Eyler, who was on one of the buses that escaped the blast, told Ynet that the blast took place seconds after the groups boarded the buses. "The bus next to ours just exploded. There was smoke everywhere and people were running hysterically. We got off the bus and local security officers got everyone into the terminal immediately."

Shoshi told Voice of Israel Radio "We went through passport control and representatives were waiting to deposit us in buses to the hotels. We put the bags in the trunk, and after a few minutes, the bus exploded in flames. Then we returned to the terminal, and now we are trying to determine who is missing and who is dead."

Shoshi's son added: "People who survived the explosion escaped from the window, and could not step over the bodies. The bus was shattered on both its sides." Burgas is a popular tourist town on the Black Sea to which many Israelis flock each week.

The explosion comes on the 18th anniversary of a 1994 bomb attack on the headquarters of Argentina's main Jewish organization by an Iranian-backed Hizbullah suicide bomber, which killed 85 people.

Hizbullah has denied any connection to the attack, saying its response to the assassination of its top commander Imad Mughniyeh "won't be carried out by attacking tourists."

Shoshi, an eyewitness, told Voice of Israel Radio "We went through passport control and representatives were waiting to deposit us in buses to the hotels. We put the bags in the trunk, and after a few minutes, the bus exploded in flames. Then we returned to the terminal, and now we are trying to determine who is missing and who is dead."

Shoshi's son added: "People who survived the explosion escaped from the window, and could not step over the bodies. The bus was shattered on both its sides."

Burgas is a popular tourist town on the Black Sea to which many Israelis flock each week.


New 'Mahdi' Cyber Campaign Targeting Iran

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Security experts have uncovered a new cyber espionage campaign targeting Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, which, they say, is unique because it is the first such operation using communications tools written in Persian, Reuters reported.

Israeli security company Seculert and Russia's Kaspersky Lab said on Tuesday that they identified more than 800 victims of the operation. The targets include critical infrastructure companies, engineering students, financial services firms and government embassies located in five Middle Eastern countries, with the majority of the infections in Iran.

Seculert and Kaspersky declined to identify specific targets of the campaign, which they believe began at least eight months ago. The perpetrators of the attacks have not been identified. "It's for sure somebody who is fluent in Persian, but we don't know the origin of those guys," said Seculert Chief Technology Officer Aviv Raff.

The Mahdi Trojan lets remote attackers steal files from infected PCs and monitor emails and instant messages, Seculert and Kaspersky said. It can also record audio, log keystrokes and take screen shots of activity on those computers.

The firms said they believed multiple gigabytes of data have been uploaded from targeted machines. "Somebody is trying to build a dossier of a larger scale on something," Raff said. "We don't know what they are going to do at the end." Researchers have said that they believe nation states were behind the Flame virus, which was discovered earlier this year, and Stuxnet, which was uncovered in 2011.

Seculert and Kaspersky dubbed the campaign `Mahdi,' a term referring to the prophesied redeemer of Islam, because evidence suggests the attackers used a folder with that name as they developed the software to run the project, according to Reuters. They also included a text file named `mahdi.txt' in the malicious software that infected target computers.


Knesset Member Rips Up New Testament

By YnetNews.com

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera. Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books.

In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition "sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them. We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way," Kalisher wrote.

However, while most MK's chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a "provocation," tore it up into shreds and then threw it out. "This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during auto da fe instances," Ben Ari said adding that "Sending the book to MK's is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history."

Meanwhile, MK Ilan Gilon (Mertez) condemned Ben Ari's actions, saying "it's shocking that someone like that is a member of Knesset. One could compare his actions to those of an extreme MP abroad tearing up the Bible. We would all cry out if that happened," he said.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said, "We totally deplore this behavior and condemn it outright. This action stands in complete contrast to our values and our traditions. Israel is a tolerant society, but we have zero tolerance for this despicable and hateful act."

Israel Heat Wave Reaches High of 116°F

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel's heat wave peaked Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures reaching highs of 116°F (47°C) in several areas across the country. Temperatures were highest in the Arava and the Jordan Valley, as well as in the Galilee and the Judean Mountains. Temperatures were expected to drop slightly on Thursday, and are expected to cool by the weekend.

According to Meteo-Tech weatherman Nahum Malik, Israel has absorbed a heat wave whose origin is a direct hot air stream from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Such air streams usually reach Israel through different routes which often cool down over the Mediterranean Sea and bring about the July-August heat wave Israelis have become accustomed to.


Foreign Ministry Introduces 'Traveler App'

By YnetNews.com

A new smartphone app developed by the Foreign Ministry aims to help Israelis find their way out of sticky situations that often plague them as they travel overseas.

The app, called "Traveler Information," aims to offer Israelis the benefit of dozens of years of experience that Israel's embassies, consulates and missions worldwide have in dealing with various mishaps.

The application offers a wide range of useful information – from a list including the addresses and phone numbers of embassies and consulates, as well as the Foreign Ministry Situation Room, through information about local police stations and hospitals, to proper etiquette in various countries. An especially important feature of the app is its link to the Counter Terrorism Bureau's list of travel advisories.

"This is a lifesaving app," said Assaf Bracha, deputy manager of the ministry's Department for Israelis Abroad and the driving force behind the application's development. "Any Israeli who downloads it to their smartphone and will find himself in any distress overseas will be able to use it easily, even with no cell reception." The app also aims to cut though red tape and improve the public's access to the ministry's services.

According to Bracha, over 5,000 people have downloaded the app since it was launched, in early July, and it has garnered the interest of various foreign ministries worldwide, which want to adopt – and adapt – the Israeli model.


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