A solemn memorial gathering was held on July 18 at the monument at Bourgas Airport to the five Israelis and a Bulgarian who died in the terrorist attack at the spot five years earlier.
Those who died in the attack in 2012 were Maor Harush (24), Itzik Kolangi (28), Amir Menashe (28), Eliot Preiss (25), Kochava Shriki (who at the time of her death was 42 and expecting a child) and Mustafa Kyosov (36), who had been hired to drive the bus that had been meant to take a group of Israeli tourists to a popular Bulgarian Black Sea summer holiday resort.
As established in an international investigation led by Bulgaria, the bomb that left the victims dead, as well as the bomb-bearer, and more than 30 seriously injured had been targeted at them by the military wing of Hezbollah.
In addresses at the memorial ceremony, Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria, Irit Lilian, and Kobi Preiss, representing the families of the victims, expressed expectations that the judicial system would deliver justice for the victims.
The trial in absentia of the suspects in the organisation of the terrorist attack was meant to have begun in September 2016, but the start has been postponed six times, meaning that now more than five years since the terrorist atrocity against the Israelis, court proceedings are still not underway. Procedural shortcomings in summoning relatives of victims from Israel have been cited as behind the succession of postponements.
At the ceremony, there were messages delivered on behalf of Bulgarian President Roumen Radev and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, on behalf of a number of other senior officials, while members of the national and local governments were present, all speaking out against terrorism and in support of the strong ties between Bulgaria and the State of Israel.
Bourgas mayor Dimitar Nikolov underlined that the terrorists behind the outrage at the airport five years ago had failed in their objective, because relations between Bulgaria and Israel were now stronger than ever.
A number of relatives and representatives of the victims were present, as were representatives of the Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Red Cross, and others.
Itzkah Shriki, who became a widower because of the attack, has started a new family since. “My little daughter is the answer to terrorism! You may have caused us great pain, but you cannot beat us!” was his message.
The ceremony, which had opened with a minute of silence and the lighting of six candles in honour of the memory of each of the victims, concluded with a recital of the Kaddish, the praising of God traditional at occasions of mourning, followed by the playing of the Bulgarian and Israeli national anthems, and the laying of numerous wreaths.
(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)