Alberto Nisman .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel expressed “deep sorrow” Monday at the death of the Argentinian special prosecutor investigating the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, adding that it hoped Argentina would continue Alberto Nisman’s work and bring the perpetrators of that attack to justice.
Eighty-five people were killed in that bombing, which was linked to Hezbollah and Iran.
Nisman filed a complaint last week against President Cristina Fernandez for having opened a secret back channel to a group of Iranians suspected of planting the bomb, with a view to clearing them so Argentina might trade grains for much-needed oil from the Islamic Republic.
Nisman was scheduled to appear before Argentina’s parliament on Monday to discuss the charges. Just hours before his scheduled appearance he was found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, leading some to speculate murder and others to say it was suicide.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said in a statement that Nisman was a “brave and prominent jurist who fought ceaselessly for justice and worked with great resolve to expose the identities of those who carried out the terrorist attack and those who sent them.”
The statement said Israel hoped that Argentinian authorities “will continue with Nisman’s activities and make every effort to exact justice on those responsible for the terrorist attacks in Argentina.”
Argentine courts have accused Iran of sponsoring the AMIA attack, and Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese over the bombing.
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A similar attack two years earlier on the Israeli Embassy in the Argentine capital killed 29 people.
Israel-Argentine ties were strained in January 2013 when Buenos Aires and Tehran signed a memorandum of understanding that included a “truth commission” to jointly investigate the bombings, something Israel felt was an attempt to whitewash Iran’s involvement.
Two years earlier, an Argentine newspaper reported that Buenos Aires was willing to stop investigating the bombings in return for improved economic ties with Iran, something the Argentinian authorities vehemently denied.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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