Israeli victims' kin visit site of Bulgaria bomb

August 29, 2012 - 3:58 PM
Bulgaria Israelis Attacked

Relatives of five Israeli victims of a suicide bomber who targeted a bus of Israeli tourists a month earlier, mourn during a commemoration ceremony at Burgas airport, Bulgaria Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. The bomb attack killed five Israeli tourists, a Bulgarian bus driver and the bomber in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas which is a popular destination for Israeli tourists.(AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

BURGAS, Bulgaria (AP) — Relatives of five Israeli tourists killed in a bombing in Bulgaria visited the scene of the attack, laying down flowers and lighting candles Wednesday in memory of their loved ones.

The mourners walked through the bus parking lot of the Burgas airport to the spot where on July 18 a still-unidentified suicide bomber detonated his explosives, killing the Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.

"I lit a big candle and a small one, too," said Itzhak Shriki, an engineer whose pregnant wife, Kochava, was killed. "The big one is for my wife, while the small is in memory of the unborn child."

Shriki was few steps away from his wife when the bomb ripped through a bus packed with tourists. "It hurts a lot when I try to recall what happened, and it is difficult to go on," he said.

Israel has blamed the attack on Iran and the militant group Hezbollah, but Bulgarian officials have declined to back up that allegation.

On Tuesday, the victims' families attended a ceremony in Bulgaria's biggest synagogue, where they were joined by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon.

In his speech at the Sofia synagogue, Yaalon promised justice for the dead and wounded. "We will pursue (the perpetrators) with all the strength we have and we will not give up until we get even with them," he said.