Budapest explosion takes a strange turn

The narrative surrounding the explosion that seriously injured two police officers in Central Budapest on Saturday night, exactly one week before the country’s anti-migrant referendum, is beginning to take a rather strange turn. It was odd enough that Hungarian authorities said nothing formally about the attack and no press conference was held until 20 hours after the incident, leaving the media and the public speculating for almost an entire day. At the press conference, police did not release any kind of sketch or camera footage showing the suspect, even though it would have been customary to do so, considering that they offered 10 million forints to anyone who provided information that would lead to an arrest. Poor quality still images of the suspect, taken from CCTV footage, were only released Monday afternoon, a day and a half after the attack.





Based on the photo, the perpetrator had time to change his clothing. In fact, it appears that the man was already present in the area 20 to 30 minutes prior to the attack. He waited at the entrance of a store that was undergoing renovations. He seemed to only want to injure the police officers, who conduct their patrol in that area on a regular basis, as right before the bomb went off, several handfuls of pedestrians walked by. Police will not rule out terrorism, yet the perpetrator did not seem to choose a time to detonate his device, which was homemade and contained nails, when it would do the most damage.

But stranger still is a new revelation from two eyewitnesses of the explosion on Teréz Körút. Attila Kleb was in the area right when the bombing took place. He and his partner had just turned off of Teréz Körút and into Dohnányi Ernő utca. The bomb exploded and after waiting for a few moments to see if another explosion occurred, he walked towards the crime scene. Mr. Kleb mentioned that he lives in the neighbourhood and a handicapped homeless man consistently sits at the entrance of Teréz Körút 2-4 where the explosion took place. That evening, the homeless man was not there.

A few moments after the explosion, Mr. Kleb and his partner walked over to where the injured police officers lay. Less than two minutes after the explosion, plain clothes police were already on the scene  and hovered over the two injured officers. The eyewitness was astounded that the plain clothes officers could get there so rapidly or that they just happened to be there, out of coincidence.

The eyewitnesses were then interviewed by police. Among the questions that the officers asked was whether Mr. Kleb and his partner heard any calls of “Allahu akbar.” There are no reports that anyone heard such a phrase nor is there anything to suggest terrorism related to Islamic extremists. Zsolt Molnár (Hungarian Socialist Party), the chair of Parliament’s National Security Committee, noted on Monday that there is no evidence of a Jihadist connection. Mr. Molnár then criticized the police for waiting 20 hours after the attack before they held a press conference.

On Monday in Parliament, Bertalan Tóth, an MP with the Hungarian Socialist Party, demanded to know why the Interior Minister and the Prime Minister were silent following the attack. He suggested that ordinary citizens may be especially at risk, when even on-duty police officers are so vulnerable and “defenseless.”

Ágnes Vadai, an MP with the centre-left Democratic Coalition and member of the National Security Committee, indicated that the police should have been quicker in providing information to the public, so as to reassure Hungarians, especially at a time when the Fidesz government’s anti-migrant hate campaign is moving full steam ahead, less than a week before the referendum.



  1. Avatar Charlie London says:

    This progress of events has shown the police to be extremely inexperienced and naïve in their ‘investigation’.

    They have prejudiced their own investigation and given any alleged perpetrator good reason to claim an unfair trial.

    Among other things the release, and circulation, of vital video evidence could make it difficult for a jury to be formed – the defence could claim that their client would not get a fair trial.


  2. Avatar Robert Fairhurst says:

    Charlie, as they don’t have jury trials in Hungary, this is not the biggest problem

  3. People seem to forget that there are many mohammedans on the Balkan itself. Looking for a Arab or black African is not the only option to connect this attack to jihadists.

    Secondly there is no logical explaination for this attack outside of islam or a inside job. Hungary doesn’t have a recent history of these kind of attacks, not from the left or right.

    I am really curious what this turns out to be?

    • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

      Géza, what about the bombings in Budapest during the nineties? I remember Aranykéz very vividly. I was walking down Váci utca when it happened.

  4. I don’t think we ever find out or will be told what had happened but I am sure that there will be many players trying to use this sad event for their own benefit.

  5. With the rarity of such events in Hungary, it is quite a coincidence that this explosion should take place so close to this high-profile referendum. I don’t believe in such coincidences. And so one is left to speculate of who benefits from this connection. And compared to the swiftness of the police work in other countries in tracking down the perpetrators of other recent incidents, the handling of this event by Hungarian authorities serves only to undermine any confidence in them.

  6. So the only bombings in Hungary in the last 30 years have been carried out by white people (with the only known religion of any of the attackers being Christian). The only terrorist attacks I hear about in Hungary are those of skinheads attacking innocent Roma or other minorities. Still there is a irrational fear of letting in 1200 Muslims because the government would have you believe they are all here to blow shit up.

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