Bodies of five Israeli victims of Bulgaria bombing to be flown home Thursday evening

Foreign Ministry awaits completion of identification process before releasing names; ZAKA’s work at the scene may take days

The ZAKA team at work in Bulgaria after bombing on July 19, 2012 (photo credit: Avigdor Sitron/ZAKA)
The ZAKA team at work in Bulgaria after bombing on July 19, 2012 (photo credit: Avigdor Sitron/ZAKA)

The bodies of the five Israeli victims killed in the Bulgaria terrorist attack Wednesday were to be flown home for burial on Thursday evening, Israel Radio reported.

A Foreign Ministry official said it had been fairly clear for some time who the victims were, and that the affected families had been constantly updated, but that the authorities were awaiting the completion of the formal identification process before publishing the names.

“We had the list of passengers yesterday evening,” the Foreign Ministry’s Arthur Kol said early Thursday afternoon, “and from there, we followed a certain process of elimination.” He said a psychologist has flown out to help the families.

At the scene of the bombing in Burgas’s Sarafovo Airport, ZAKA victim identification teams were continuing to retrieve body parts Thursday, and were not certain that they would complete the work before Shabbat. A ZAKA volunteer told Israel Radio that Bulgarian officials were watching the painstaking work with expressions of bafflement, and were “asking us ‘why are you checking all this?'”

He said the volunteers were “making sure we bring back every part for burial in Israel.”

The bombing site was still a “terrible” sight to see — “a scene of destruction as you step outside the terminal.” As with suicide bombings he had dealt with in Israel, he said, the devastation was so profound that it was proving “very hard to identify the bodies.”

He noted that Bulgarian law would not allow the bodies to be transported home to Israel without “absolute identification.”

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