SOFIA (AFP)---Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov paid tribute at Sofia's main synagogue to the six victims of last week's suicide bombing during his visit to Bulgaria Monday, while also meeting the Bulgarian Prime Minister.
"Bulgaria and Israel are friends and we will not let this terrorist act cast a shadow over our traditionally good relations," Misezhnikov said after talks with Boyko Borisov, according to a statement.
"Any negative change in our relations would be to give in to terrorism."
"Israeli tourists are important for us," said Borisov. "But not really for economic reasons but because for them Bulgaria is like a second country and they feel comfortable here."
Misezhnikov was due to attend on Tuesday a ceremony in Burgas on the Black Sea, a popular destination for Israeli tourists, to commemorate the victims of Wednesday's attack, five Israelis and one Bulgarian.
Bulgarian investigators, helped by international counterparts, were still trying on Monday to identify the suicide bomber. Israel has blamed Iran and its proxy Lebanese militia Hezbollah for the bombing. Iran has denied any involvement.
Bulgarian media reported later on Monday, quoting anonymous sources, that the bomber entered the country from neighbouring Romania, spoke Russian and was accompanied by a woman.
Private television bTV reported that investigators have recovered what it called the bomber's "biological traces" from a hotel in Varna, further up the Black Sea coast from Burgas, where the bomber stayed two days before the attack.
The Trud daily meanwhile quoted a taxi driver who was alleged to have driven the bomber the day before the attack saying that the man spoke Russian well.
The possibility that the suicide bomber who blew himself up on a bus full of Israeli tourists had an accomplice was gaining ground after an autopsy on the attacker.
Galina Mileva, who was involved in the post-mortem examination, told BNT television that the appearance of the bomber was markedly different from the
"Arab-looking" suspect spoken of by witnesses after Wednesday's attack.
The man "had a white face, light eyes, and very thick brown hair. The facial bones were shattered in the explosion," Mileva said.
Bulgarian police along with the CIA, FBI and Interpol are struggling to identify the bomber who carried out the attack on the bus at the Black Sea airport of Burgas, killing five Israelis and the Bulgarian driver.
Israel has blamed Iran and its terrorist proxy, Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, but Tehran has denied any involvement in what was the first attack of its kind in Bulgaria.
The Pressa newspaper and the bTV channel said the bomber could have had an
accomplice who detonated the explosives by cellphone.
Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the bomber was a 36-year-old who had been in Bulgaria for at least four days.
A man and his wife who run a car rental service said they recognised the suspect who came to hire a vehicle. They said he had a wad of 500-euro bills and refused to rent him a car as his US driving licence appeared to be fake.
Burgas prosecutor Kalina Tchapkanova quoted witnesses as saying the man "spoke English with a slight accent" and appeared to be Arab.
The car rental service owner's wife Afrodita Petrova said she was sure hewas of Arab origin and had a shaven head.
But Burgas journalist Katia Kassabova of the besove.bg website which carried the first images of the attack said "the bomber is not the man who tried to rent the car. He could be an accomplice.
"The man who died had blue eyes while the man spotted in the car rental agency had brown eyes," she said.
Kassabova said the bomber's hair was straight and black but claimed he wore a wig that was found 25 metres from the bus.
No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was the deadliest on Israelis abroad since 2004 and came on the 18th anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community centre in Argentina that killed 85 people, also blamed on Iran.
Israel, in blaming Iran and Hezbollah for Wednesday's bombing, said it fitted a pattern of other attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis including in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya and Cyprus.