Bulgaria victim had just learned she was pregnant

Shriki and her husband Yitzhak of Rishon Lezion were among 154 Israelis who had flown to Bulgaria on vacation.

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July 20, 2012 03:43
2 minute read.
Truck carries bus damaged in terrorist attack

Bugras Bus Bomb (370). (photo credit: Stoyan Nenov/ Reuters)

 
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Before boarding a flight to Bulgaria on Wednesday, Kochava Shriki, 42, got a call from her doctor with the good news that after many unsuccessful attempts, she was finally pregnant.

As she stood in Ben-Gurion Airport, she called her sister, Yael Morad, to tell her how happy she was. She ended the conversation by stating, “I’m getting on the plane in five minutes.”

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“Take care of yourself,” Morad responded.

Just one day later, Morad stood in the parking lot outside of Ben-Gurion’s Terminal 1, fairly certain that her sister was among the five Israelis killed when a suicide bomber boarded her bus outside the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, on Wednesday afternoon.

Shriki and her husband Yitzhak of Rishon Lezion were among 154 Israelis who had flown there on vacation with the help of Israeli tourism company Kavei Hofsha (Vacation Lines), which also provided buses to transport them to their hotel.

On Thursday, Yitzhak flew back to Israel without his wife.

He was among the 33 wounded from the blast who landed around 2 p.m. on an IDF plane.



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More than a dozen ambulances with flashing red lights lined the service road by the terminal, waiting for the wounded.

Morad and another sister, Nurit Cohen, stood in tears by the ambulances so they could accompany Yitzhak to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

As the vehicles drove away, they walked to their car, pausing to speak with reporters.

They told the story together, often speaking at the same time or finishing each other’s sentences.

Morad noted that she had two other siblings who were also out of the country, in Romania and Spain, and who were heading back to Israel Thursday after hearing the news.

“She went for a three-day vacation and is coming back in a coffin,” said Cohen through her tears.

Morad said that when her husband had first called to tell her about the explosion, she didn’t believe that her sister had been in the attack.

“I didn’t think it could be her.

I just spoke with her,” she said.

Then she spoke with Yitzhak from Bulgaria, who told her about the explosion. He said that the force of the blast had sent him flying and he had lost consciousness.

When he came to, he began looking for Kochava. Everyone assured him that she was alive, but that they simply did not know where she was. A number of times, he believed he had found her, only to have his hopes dashed.

He sent his wife’s family SMS updates of his search.

In one message, he wrote, “She is alive, but in critical care.”

Then he wrote, “She is alive, but in surgery.”

Morad said, “Until 4 a.m., we had a shred of hope that she was among the wounded. But then Israeli staff came, updated the lists, and we understood that the worst had happened.”

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