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U.S. Activists Demand Justice Four Years After Argentine Attack

July 21, 1998
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Still no justice — four years after the bombing of the Argentine Jewish community headquarters in Buenos Aires.

That is the assessment of Jews around the world who are marking the anniversary of the July 18, 1994, explosion of the seven-story building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Aid Association.

One of the deadliest single terrorist events in Argentina’s history, the AMIA explosion left 86 people dead and 300 others wounded.

That is also the assessment — and the title — of a new report on the state of Argentina’s investigation into the bombing, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

The AMIA attack was the second major attack against a Jewish target in Buenos Aires this decade. The first, against the Israeli Embassy in 1992, claimed 22 victims and wounded more than 200.

On Monday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York marked the anniversary with a “call for justice” for the victims of the bombings.

Candles were lit as the names of the victims were read.

Public officials, civic and religious leaders called on the Argentine government to take increased action to apprehend the perpetrators of the attacks.

Gedale Horowitz, president of the JCRC, called upon Argentine President Carlos Menem to “do everything that can be done” to punish those responsible for the crimes.

Meanwhile, the AJCommittee report details what has been learned from the AMIA investigation and why some believe the bombing remains unsolved.

“Agents of the state are implicated in the bombing,” the report says. “The investigation of the AMIA case exposed an advanced state of corruption in Argentina’s largest police force,” it adds.

“Eleven provincial policemen, including high-ranking officers, remain under arrest on charges related to the bombing.”

Another obstacle in the investigation, according to the report, is the fact that the Argentine judiciary system is inadequately prepared to handle international terrorism.

Controversy among Argentine Jews has focused on the government investigation on Iranian involvement in the bombing. Evidence of such a link surfaced early in the probe.

“Even if conclusive proof is found of Iranian involvement, it is hard to find an Argentine, particularly an Argentine Jew, who believes that the local accomplices of the terrorists — will be punished,” the report says.

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