DATE IMPORTED: July 18, 2013 Thousands of people hold up signs reading, "Justice" as they gather to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community center in Buenos Aires July 18, 2013..
(photo credit: REUTERS/MARCOS BRINDICCI)
On this day in history, July 18, 1994, a suicide terrorist drove a car filled with explosives into the Jewish community's AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, causing a horrific hit to the largest Jewish community in Latin America and the sixth largest Jewish population in the world.
Eighty-five people were killed and over 300 were injured, making it the worst terrorist attack in Argentina's history.
This attack followed an earlier attack in 1992 at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 people and left hundreds injured.
The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is widely believed to have carried out the attacks with Iranian backing. In 2005, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman charged 21-year-old, Lebanese citizen Ibrahim Hussein Berro as the suicide bomber who was believed to have ties to Hezbollah, and in October 2006, Nisman and fellow prosecutor Marcelo Martínez Burgos formally accused top officials within the government of Iran with planning the bombing and Hezbollah for carrying it out.
Though the case remained dormant for a while after the accusations, in an effort to resolve the cases, in 2013 Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran. Argentinian Jewish leaders were outraged at the decision to involve Iran in a “truth commission” investigating a crime that Iran is believed to have organized.
While investigating the case, in 2015, hours before Nisman was due to appear in front of the Argentine Congress and present his evidence that Iran was behind the bombings and the Argentine government had covered it up, he was found dead in his apartment with one bullet wound to the head.
Though the cause of death remains undetermined, his research helped identify the Iranian leaders who orchestrated and ordered the attack, traced the names of the Hezbollah actors involved, exposed Iran's terror cells in South America, and uncovered the efforts of Argentinian President Cristina Fernández and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman to cover up Iran and Hezbollah's involvement in the bombings.
International arrest warrants for two Hezbollah members were issued by the Supreme Court of Argentina on October 18, 2015, in connection with the bombings.
In November 2015, Argentina's newly elected President Mauricio Macri announced that he would be cancelling the agreement signed between his government and Iran to jointly investigate the 1990's bombings.
Twenty-two years later the people of Argentina continue to look for justice, as they protest in the streets with signs that read "justicia" (justice) and "yo soy Nisman" (I am Nisman) and pictures that show the faces of those killed in the attacks.
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