At a rebuilt AMIA Jewish center, Argentinians remember 9/11 victims


BUENOS AIRES (JTA) – A 9/11 memorial ceremony at the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires called for common cause in halting terrorist attacks. 

Among those attending the commemoration ceremony Monday at the rebuilt AMIA headquarters were the U.S. ambassador in Argentina, Vilma Martinez; representatives of Spain, Germany, Ireland, Uruguay, Poland and Israel; and executives from American Airlines and United Airlines, whose planes were used in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another flight went down in Pennsylvania.

“It is affecting to meet here at the site of the AMIA bombing, a grim reminder of terrorist attacks," Martinez said. "We value deeply our common reason to fight against terrorism and remember its victims."

AMIA President Angel Barman referred to this common cause, saying that the world should do more to face terrorism together.

"I think we have not done enough, our diplomats and authorities have not done enough," he said.

Olga Degtiar, representing Families of Victims and Friends of the AMIA Bombing group, said that the images 10 years later of the 9/11 attacks makes her remember her own images from 17 years ago, when the AMIA building was destroyed in an attack on July 18, 1994 that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

“It’s the same hate and destruction," said the mother of Cristian Degtian, a teenager killed in the AMIA bombing. "When we saw this building destroyed … [and] knowing that beneath the rubble was my son."

Adriana Reisfeld, Active Memory president, noted a major difference between the tributes held in New York and in Buenos Aires for the AMIA bombing.

"In the United States both presidents (George Bush and Barack Obama) participated and representatives of different religions; they can be together because they know exactly who is responsible for the attacks," she said. "After 17 years in Argentina we don’t have assurance of who are the responsible parties."

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 the current Iranian defense minister, Gen. Ahmed Vahidi.

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