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On anniversary of bombing, Jewish groups express solidarity with Buenos Aires center

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — International Jewish organizations expressed solidarity with the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish center on the 18th anniversary of the deadly bombing there.

“The attack on AMIA should serve as a reminder of the danger of Iran’s increasing infiltration of Latin America,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan Jacobs said. “Though almost two decades have passed since this devastating and tragic attack, it is never too late for Latin American countries to support Argentina’s claims and demand that the terrorists are brought to justice.”

Though Argentina has accused the Iranian government of directing the bombing, and the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah of carrying it out, no arrests have been made in the case. Six Iranians have been on the Interpol international police agency’s most wanted list since 2007 in connection with the bombing, including current Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Ahmed Vahidi.

Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds injured in the July 18, 1994 attack.

“Eighteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina, which targeted the largest Jewish community in Latin America, justice for the hundreds of innocent victims remains elusive,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “We renew our call to the Argentine government to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous attack, including the Iranian and Hezbollah masterminds. As the threat of an Iranian nuclear regime becomes imminent, it is imperative that Argentina sends a message that terrorism and those who support it will not be tolerated.”

The presidents of the World Jewish Congress and Latin American Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder and Jack Terpins, have highlighted Iran’s suspected involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack.

The Islamic Republic announced its willingness to cooperate with Argentina’s investigation into the bombing in a statement issued in July 2011 by its Foreign Ministry that condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of those killed. It also denied responsibility for the blast.

In October 2010, Iran rejected Argentina’s proposal to put its accused citizens on trial in a neutral country.

"The Iranian government has ensured that no Iranian citizen was involved, directly or indirectly, in the bombing of the AMIA,” read the official letter sent to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry offered last year a "constructive dialogue" with Argentina to "shed all possible light" on the case, according to the statement carried by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

“If Iran really wants to collaborate, it must bring to justice all the Iranians suspected instead of releasing declarations empty of real content," Argentinian Prosecutor Alberto Nisman told JTA in July 2011.

In a previous terrorist attack, on March 17, 1992, a car bomb destroyed Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injured 242.

 

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