Israeli intelligence intercepted a high volume of telephone calls between Lebanon and Burgas, Bulgaria in the months leading up to the terror attack that killed five Israelis in the city last month, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing senior government officials.
"We know the sources in Lebanon, though not the identity of those on the other end in Bulgaria," the unnamed official told the Times. In the days before the bombing, the volume of telephone calls increased, the official added.
Following the attack, senior Israeli officials placed blame for the plot on Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran. Bulgaria and other European countries have been more hesitant to point a finger at any specific group or country, however, until more evidence is uncovered.
Hours after the attack in July, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said unequivocally that Hezbollah carried out the attack. He pledged that Israel would pursue the attackers and “extract a heavy price from those who sent them.”
He did not elaborate.
“Yesterday’s attack in Bulgaria was carried out by Hezbollah, the long arm of Iran,” he said. According to government officials, Netanyahu has concrete evidence linking the Lebanese terrorist organization to the atrocity.