Bulgaria Attack: The Victims’ Stories

July 27, 2012 9:51 am 0 comments

Friends and family mourn at the funeral of Maor Harosh, 25, in Acre on July 20, 2012. Harosh was killed together with four other Israelis in a suicide bombing attack in Bulgaria. Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv/FLASH90.

Funerals were held July 20 for the Israeli victims of the Bulgaria terror attack. The coffins of the five Israelis arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport on the evening of June 19, where a short official ceremony was held.

The victims were identified as Kochava Shriki, 44, from Rishon Lezion; Itzik Kolangi, 28, from Petach Tikva; Amir Menashe, 28, from Petach Tikva; Elior Price, 26, from Acre; and Maor Harush, 25, from Acre. Mustafa Kyosev, the 36-year-old Bulgarian bus driver, was also killed.

All of the Israelis injured in the attack were airlifted home July 19 in Israel Air Force planes and were continuing to receive medical treatment at various Israeli hospitals.

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov spoke at the official ceremony at the airport, and reiterated the Israeli government’s assessment that Iran and Hezbollah were behind the attack. Misezhnikov said that the victims’ only mistake was that they were Israelis. “They were not randomly targeted,” he said.

Kochava Shriki

Kochava and Itzik Shriki had tried for years to conceive. After endless fertility treatments, Kochava finally got pregnant at age 44. A short time before boarding the plane to Burgas, she called her sister and told her the good news. “A few hours later, Itzik called us and told us about the terror attack, and now we’re bringing her home in a coffin,” her sister Yael Morad said.

“[Itzik] is devastated,” a relative said July 19. “After years of waiting for a child, and a happy life with Kochava, who was a wonderful woman, they hoped the holiday would give them a chance to rest up. Now he feels like he has lost everything.”

Amir Menashe and Itzik Kolangi

Good friends Amir Menashe and Itzik Kolangi, who recently became first-time fathers, were in Burgas to celebrate their 28th birthdays together with their wives, Natalie and Galit. Their children, Noya Kolangi, 4 months, and Rom Menashe, 10 months, were staying with their respective grandparents and now will never know their fathers. Itzik’s brother Dudu described his brother as “full of life.” He said, “Itzik sent our mother a photo as soon as they landed. He and Galit looked so happy.” Amir’s brother Ofir described his brother as “a kid just starting out, a happy kid. He waited so long for this trip.”

Elior Price and Maor Harosh

Elior and Maor were childhood friends. Together with a third friend, Daniel Fahima, they decided to go to Burgas for a relaxing holiday. Daniel was seriously wounded in the attack, and Elior and Maor came back in coffins. Their relatives said July 19 that the families were having a very difficult time coming to terms with the devastating news. “When representatives from the Foreign Ministry came to take DNA samples, we feared the worse,” said one. “Now we hope that at least Daniel will make it.” Maor and Daniel had planned the trip to Burgas for a long time and at the last minute managed to convince Elior to join them.

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