OTTAWA - While Israel threatened to “react powerfully” against Iran after a deadly terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, Canada’s foreign affairs minister stood behind its mideast ally’s right to defend itself.
“In Canada, it’s never the whole future of the state that is in question or the future of the Canadian people that’s in question. Whereas in Israel, it’s very, very different,” John Baird told Ottawa radio station CFRA on Thursday morning. “So obviously our first choice is to see these people that have perpetrated these crimes brought to justice. But at the same time, we understand that Israel has the right to defend the country and its people.”
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the attack, which killed eight people and injured dozens more, was “clearly a terrorist attack initiated by probably Hezbollah, Hamas, Jihad or any other group under the terror auspices of either Iran or other radical Muslim groups. We are in a continued fight against them, we are determined to identify who sent them, who executed it, and to settle the account.”
That sentiment was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed on Thursday that Israel would “react powerfully against Iranian terror”.
Bulgarian media have identified the suspect as Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish citizen of Algerian and Finnish descent who was reportedly held at Guantanamo Bay between 2002 and 2004.