Victim’ of AMIA blast found alive in Paraguay

BUENOS AIRES, April 22 (JTA) — Is it a case of mistaken identity, or a carefully planned fraud?

The question surfaced after a spokesperson for the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires claimed last week that a presumed victim of the 1994 bombing of the center is alive and well, working as a baker in neighboring Paraguay.

Argentina’s state-run news agency Telam reported that Patricio Irala, a Paraguayan man who allegedly had been hired by AMIA as a driver on the day of the bombing, was found in Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion, by AMIA investigators.

Argentine officials have not yet found those responsible for the AMIA bombing, which killed 86 people and wounded about 300.

Following the attack, Irala’s wife, Ema, claimed that the one unidentified body in the wreckage was her husband’s.

AMIA says she collected some $55,000 in compensation for his death, but she says she received only $35,000.

AMIA lawyers claim that Irala and his wife committed fraud.

Ema Irala, however, denies the charge.

In a radio interview from her home in Asuncion, she said she had divorced Patricio and later married another man with the same name — and it was the second husband who died in the bombing.

Castorina Amarilla, daughter of Ema and the man found alive in Paraguay, said in a radio interview that her father had never left Paraguay.

She also repeated her mother’s claim.

“It’s just a case of mistaken identity,” Amarilla said. “It was another man with the same name.”

The case is under investigation.

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