Officials: No raised threat to US Jews post-Bulgaria attack
US security officials spoke to American Jewish leaders following Wednesday’s bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria to reassure them that US Jewry faces no heightened threat at this time.
Representatives from the FBI, White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spoke with nearly 300 Jewish leaders from across the country in a conference call the day after the bombing whose details were publicized Friday.
“We have no specific credible intelligence pointing to any threat in the United States,” DHS principal deputy counterterrorism coordinator John Cohen said on the call, according to a release sent out by the Jewish Federations of North America. JFNA hosted the call along with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
However, Cohen cautioned, “We are urging members of the Jewish community in the United States to remain aware of their surroundings.”
Additionally, the release noted, the FBI continues to warn of Iranian and Hezbollah terror cells targeting travelers outside the United States and calls for vigilance while abroad.
US President Barack Obama continued his outreach concerning the bus bombing on Friday with a call to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
Obama expressed his condolences for the victims, which included five Israeli tourists and their driver, a Bulgarian national.
He also condemned the “barbaric attack,” according to a White House statement, and expressed support for the ongoing investigation, sentiments he conveyed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their phone conversation on Wednesday.
In addition, the leaders discussed “the strong partnership and excellent counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Bulgaria,” according to the statement. Obama also praised Bulgaria’s “important contributions” to NATO.
Bulgaria has been somewhat on the defensive following the bombing, saying it did not have advance warning from the Mossad of the likelihood of a terror attack, despite having held a meeting with the Israeli spy agency recently. The country is pushing back against the notion that a homegrown terror cell carried out the operation.