Israeli intelligence has found that there were many phone calls between Lebanon and Burgas, Bulgaria in the weeks leading up to a fatal bus bombing targeting Israeli tourists, the New York Times reports. The volume of calls increased in the three days before the attack.
The calls serve as an additional reason to link the attack to Iran and Hizbullah.
The report included the Burgas attack with attacks in India and elsewhere as part of an Iranian “shadow war.” Iran allegedly uses cold war-style tactics to target Israel and Israelis while continuing to deny its involvement in terror.
Iran and Hizbullah “thrive on reasonable deniability,” counterterror expert Matthew Levitt explained.
Another expert, Andrew Exum, agreed. “They want just enough ambiguity that you can’t nail down that they did it, the seed of doubt that makes it difficult for Israel or the United States to respond,” he said.
Iran has denied involvement in the Burgas attack, claiming that Israel attacked its own tourists.
The report noted that an investigation into the Burgas bombing has failed to identify the bomber or to apprehend a suspected accomplice. Without further evidence, Bulgaria is unlikely to implicate Hizbullah, which the European Union does not consider a terrorist group.
Iran’s covert attacks have not targeted Israel alone. The United States has accused Iran of backing a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington.