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'There was a Blast and Everything was Erased from My Memory'

Gilat Kolangi, who lost her husband Itzik in the terror attack in Bulgaria, recalls the difficult moments of the attack.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/21/2012, 2:15 AM

Burgas bombing
Burgas bombing
Flash 90

Gilat Kolangi, who lost her husband Itzik and was seriously wounded in last month’s terror attack on a tourist bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, recalled on Monday, for the first time, the difficult moments of the attack.

In an interview with Army Radio, Kolangi said, “I’m slowly recovering, but the situation is improving. The attack is something you try not to think about in your everyday life, but there's no way that it doesn’t pop into your head occasionally.”

She recalled the last sentence her husband Itzik said to her, “Gilat, go up on the bus and grab us a seat.” She said that sentence is still echoing in her head. “That’s how he basically saved my life. He stayed below, right next to the terrorist,” she said.

Kolnagi recalled, “I put my foot on the first step of the bus, there was something going through my head, but I thought nothing of it. I looked to my left, and that was it - I do not remember anything else. There was a blast and everything was erased from my memory.

“The next thing I remember is the hospital in Sofia. Then I was sedated and when I woke up I saw a blanket over me with the symbol of the Beilinson Hospital on it.”

Kolangi said she finds some comfort in her daughter. “I have my Noya, so thank G-d that I am standing on my feet and she makes me smile every morning. It will take time, that's what everyone tells me.”

She added that the medical treatment in Bulgaria was “disrespectful” and praised the conduct of the doctors at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Kolangi also criticized the government ministers and Knesset members, saying none of them bothered to come to her husband’s funeral and shiva.

Last week, Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Interior created a computer image of a suspect believed to be involved in the terrorist bombing in Burgas.

The picture shows a heavy-set man with a slightly dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes, who may have been wearing glasses. He carried a driver's license and used various false names.

Bulgarian police believe the suicide bomber who died in the blast was not acting alone. "There is evidence that this man is connected to the terror action in the Burgas airport," the Bulgarian Interior Ministry said in a statement. It asked the public for information regarding the suspect.

An Israeli official source quoted recently in the New York Times said Israeli intelligence has evidence that terrorists in Lebanon were involved in the attack as well. There was a rise in the number of telephone calls between Lebanon and Burgas in the two months that preceded the attack, the source said, and an even more marked spike in the three days that preceded the attack.