Panama says 1994 plane crash that killed Jewish passengers was terrorist attack


(JTA) — The explosion of a Panamanian commuter plane in 1994 that killed 21 people, including 12 Jews, was a terrorist incident, the country’s president said.

President Juan Carlos Varela called for the case to be reopened on Monday, after disclosing that Israel provided him with reports late last year about the explosion. Varela met last week in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Several prominent Jewish businessmen working in the Caribbean port city of Colon were victims of the plane crash, which was headed for Panama City but only lasted about 20 minutes.

The crash occurred a day after the bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead. At the time, it was reported that a bomb went off inside the plane’s cabin, but this was never confirmed, according to the BBC.

Varela said Monday that he has asked Panamanian and Israeli authorities to reinvestigate the incident.

“I’ve requested the re-opening of the case given intelligence reports that clearly show it was a terrorist attack,” he told reporters, according to reports.

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