Thirty-three people wounded in Wednesday’s bus bombing at the Burgas airport in
Bulgaria landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday, and were immediately
transferred by ambulance to area hospitals.
The majority of the victims
who returned on Thursday were lightly hurt, though two were in serious or
Three victims who were critically wounded in the
bombing were transferred to hospitals in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, and IDF
Col. David Dagan is overseeing their treatment.
“Now our biggest concern
is how and when to bring them back to Israel, which is not an easy question,”
Dr. Itzik Kreiss in a press conference Thursday afternoon
at Ben-Gurion, after he accompanied the first flight of victims back to Israel.
He said he expected the critically wounded victims would return to Israel within
24 hours and commended the Bulgarian medical services for fully cooperating with
One of the victims is in an army hospital, and the two
others are in the Sofia hospitals.
“It’s not always nice to be Israeli,
but this is a country that knows, within 24 hours, how to bring back all of her
wounded and injured from every place in the world. It makes it a little easier,”
said Kreiss, who accompanied the Thursday flight.
He said the wounds were
consistent with other bus bombings, including broken limbs, cuts, burns,
shrapnel wounds and multiple injuries.
He added that he had not seen any
children under the age of 18, but could not confirm there were no children
Kreiss noted that some of the people’s mental states were fine, but
some were less so.
“Unfortunately, it’s the same mental state as we have
seen in many instances that this has happened here,” he said.
to Magen David Adom director Eli Bin, the scene at the Burgas Airport when MDA
paramedics arrived around midnight Wednesday was “chaos,” and Israelis were
milling around stunned and missing clothes and shoes.
Bin said the
Israelis had refused to leave the airport terminal until Israeli authorities
arrived, and there had been “thunderous applause” when the rescue teams from MDA
and the army entered the building.
Many of the Israelis were offered
flights back home on Bulgaria Air, but refused to come with any plane that was
not Israeli, he said.
The victims who went back on the Thursday afternoon
flight traveled as the MDA had found them in the terminal, with shoes and
clothes missing. The MDA distributed clothes from the local Red Cross to some of
the victims after they arrived. The wounded victims also returned without their
luggage and without passports. Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria signed that he
recognized every victim so they could return home without documents.
commended the cooperation with the local Red Cross and local authorities and
said that Israeli rescue services had received all of the necessary permits
immediately. He said there were only eight ambulances in the entire city of
Burgas, so it was woefully unprepared to deal with such a large
Following the bombing, Israeli authorities have forbidden
Israelis to walk around freely in the city, he added, saying they must have an
armed escort when on the street. The hospital in Burgas was also under guard
while Israeli victims were there.
The bodies of the five Israelis killed
in the bombing were scheduled to leave Burgas after an official ceremony around
6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The bodies were immediately transferred to the L.
Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir upon arrival in
“Every Israeli needs to know that anywhere he is, in the most
remote place, MDA, the army, and the Israeli government will bring them home,”