Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov told the families of the victims of the terror attack in Bulgaria on Thursday night that he hoped the attack would be “yours and our last disaster.”
Misezhnikov spoke on behalf of the government in a state ceremony at the Ben Gurion Airport, after the coffins of the five victims landed in Israel. The coffins were brought to Israel on a plane belonging to the Israeli Air Force. Before the minister spoke, IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz read Psalms and recited the Kaddish prayer.
“We stand here in front of the coffins and the heart breaks - five coffins and one giant hole in the heart,” said Misezhnikov.
“They were in the prime of their lives when the heaven they went to turned into a hell. The sin for which they were killed was one and only – that they were Israelis and Jews. These villains went all the way to the Black Sea to hurt them intentionally.”
Misezhnikov noted that the Hizbullah terror group has gone to great lengths to hurt Israelis and Jews worldwide, noting that, “The Hizbullah group, sent by Iran, managed to kill six people, including five Israelis and the bus driver, and wounded dozens of innocent people. This time Iran succeeded in its despicable task.”
“The purpose of the murder is to put fear in our hearts and break our spirit,” he added, “but we will rise up again and not allow them to intimidate us. International terrorism has unfortunately become a reality with which we must deal everywhere. The murderous terror knows no bounds and does not distinguish between blood and blood. But despite the pain and grief and sorrow, will not be deterred and we will not break. Terrorism must not disrupt our way of life. We must continue to create and live and travel the world - that's what we will do.”
Earlier on Thursday, the names of the five Israelis who were killed in the terror attack were cleared for publication.
The dead are Yitzchak Kolangi, 28, of Petach Tikva; Amir Menashe, 28, of Petach Tikva; Maor Harush, 25, of Akko; Elior Preis, 26, of Akko; and Kochava Shriki, 44, of Rishon LeTzion.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu directly fingered Iran and Hizbullah as being responsible for the attack, saying, “This attack was part of a global campaign of terror carried out by Iran and Hizbullah. This terror campaign has reached a dozen countries on five continents. The world's leading powers should make it clear that Iran is the country that stands behind this terror campaign.”
He added, “Iran must be exposed by the international community as the premier terrorist-supporting state that it is. And everything should be done to prevent Iran, the world's most dangerous regime, from developing the world's most dangerous weapons.”