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Israeli counterterrorism official says Iran, Hezbollah plotting more attacks overseas
JERUSALEM (AP) ' Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are plotting more attacks on Israelis overseas, an Israeli counterterrorism official said Friday, warning travelers abroad to be especially vigilant.
The official did not identify specific countries where Israelis might be targeted. But he said Israel has "general information reflecting intent," citing findings from investigations into the attacks overseas.
"Iran and Hezbollah are continuing to try to carry out other attacks on targets abroad," he said, without offering details. "That means asking Israelis abroad to be vigilant."
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Earlier this week, assailants planted a bomb on an Israeli embassy car in India, critically injuring a diplomat's wife, and carried out two botched bombing attempts against Israeli diplomats in Georgia and Thailand.
Israel has blamed Iran for all three incidents and there has been speculation that Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, carried them out on behalf of its Iranian patron.
Iran and Hezbollah have denied involvement in all three attacks.
The attacks took place in countries that have cordial relations with Tehran. That Iran would risk diplomatic dustups with such countries was evidence of just how determined it was to attack Israeli targets, the counterterrorism official claimed.
"That makes the danger of future operations even greater," he said.
On Thursday, Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said his group didn't bother with such small attacks, suggesting it had senior Israeli officials in its sights.
The Israeli official said Israel took Nasrallah's threats seriously.
"After Nasrallah's speech, senior officials are a priority target, and that is definitely why we are following everything that points in that direction," he said.
Egypt's lawless Sinai desert, home to an array of militant groups, remains an especially grave risk to Israelis, he said. But he noted that the desert peninsula bordering Israel, which continues to attract Israelis to its palm-fringed beaches, has been under a top-tier travel warning for years and was not connected to the current wave of bombing attacks.