WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged President Barack Obama to meet with survivors of two 1990s terrorist attacks on Jewish institutions when he travels to Argentina.
“As you work to renew the partnership between the United States and Argentina, we would like to suggest that you use this visit as an opportunity to pay tribute to victims of terrorism in Argentina and pledge to help bring those responsible to justice,” said the March 1 letter from Reps. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the committee chairman, and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., its top Democrat.
“The attacks that targeted the Israeli Embassy on March 17, 1992 and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) on July 18, 1994 were the deadliest in the country’s history,” the letter said. “Recognizing the victims and pledging assistance would send an important signal that the U.S. will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Argentina to fight terrorism.”
Obama is traveling to Argentina on March 23-24.
The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is widely believed to have carried out the attacks with Iranian backing. The embassy bombing killed 29 people and the AMIA Jewish center attack left 85 dead. Hundreds of people were wounded.
Argentina has yet to bring the killers to justice, and there are allegations that over the years some Argentine authorities, including former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, were compromised by efforts to maintain ties with Iran. A Jewish federal prosecutor investigating the crime, Alberto Nisman, allegedly was murdered last year after making charges to that effect against Kirchner.