A “normal”-looking man carrying a fake Michigan driver’s license carried out the suicide bombing that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the country’s interior minister said.
Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.
The attack, carried out by a man wearing shorts and carrying a backpack, took place on Wednesday at Burgas airport, a popular gateway for tourists visiting the Black Sea coast.
Video surveillance footage showed the bomber was similar in appearance to tourists arriving at the airport, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said.
The bomber had been circling around a group of buses, which were to take Israeli tourists to a resort near Burgas, for about an hour before the explosion, the surveillance footage showed.
“We have established there was a person who was a suicide bomber in this attack. This person had a fake driving licence from the United States, from the state of Michigan,” Tsvetanov told reporters at the airport.
“He looked like anyone else - a normal person with Bermuda shorts and a backpack,” he said.
The bomber was said to be 36 years old and had been in the country for between four and seven days before the attack.
Special forces had managed to obtain DNA samples from the fingers of the bomber and were now checking databases in an attempt to identify him, Tsvetanov said. Bulgarian security services had received no indications of an imminent attack.
The foreign ministry said seven people were killed in the attack, including the Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber. The Israeli foreign ministry confirmed that five Israelis were killed.
The tourists had arrived in Bulgaria on a charter flight from Israel and were on the bus in the airport car park when the blast tore through the vehicle. Body parts were strewn across the ground, mangled metal hung from the double-decker bus’s ripped roof and black smoke billowed over the airport.
On Thursday, the airport in Burgas - a city of 200,000 people at the centre of a string of seaside resorts - remained closed and police prevented people from approaching.
Beyond the cordons, about 100 holidaymakers waited for their flights but had been told they would be there until midnight. Officials were setting up portable toilets and tents for stranded travellers and Bulgaria’s parliament opened with a one minute silence in memory of the bombing victims.