U.S. House of Representatives passes resolution commemorating AMIA bombing

Eighty-five innocent people were killed and scores more wounded when the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association was bombed in Buenos Aires in 1994.

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July 17, 2019 01:18
3 minute read.
RESCUE WORKERS search for survivors and victims in the rubble left after a powerful car bomb destroy

RESCUE WORKERS search for survivors and victims in the rubble left after a powerful car bomb destroyed the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), in this July 18, 1994 photo. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday commemorating the 1994 AMIA Jewish Center bombing in Buenos Aires, demanding that those responsible for the attack be brought to justice after a 25-year delay.

The joint resolution was introduced by Ted Deutch, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism; Joe Wilson, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism; Albio Sires, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade; and Congressman Francis Rooney, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade.

“I rise today to honor the victims of the 1994 terror attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires,” Deutch stated. “In the 25 years since the attack, the investigations into the AMIA bombing have been marked by long delays and by judicial misconduct, failing thus far to bring justice for the victims, their families, and their community. Considerable evidence has linked this heinous attack to the terrorist group Hezbollah and its sponsor, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“It is reported that considerable evidence links the attack to the terrorist group Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, supported by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, and sponsored by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said a House statement. “Whereas the 25 years since the bombing have been marked by a failure to bring those responsible, including Iranian officials and their Hezbollah proxies, to justice.”

In September 2004, prosecutor Albert Nisman was appointed to the case, and in October 2006 he along with fellow prosecutor Marcelo Martinez Burgos formally accused of Iran of directing the bombing, and Hezbollah of carrying it out, according to the statement.

Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a member of Hezbollah, was identified as the AMIA bomber. In November 2007, Interpol placed several Iranian suspects in the AMIA attack on its most wanted list including: Ali Fallahijan, a former intel minister; Mohsen Rabbani, a former cultural attaché; Ahmad Reza Asghari, a former diplomat; Ahmad Vahidi, a former defense minister; Mohsen Rezaee, a former chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps; and Lebanese national Imad Fayez Moughnieh.

Interpol currently has four red-alerts relating to suspects in the AMIA bombing.

Nisman, in a formal complaint issued in 2015, alleged that then-Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and then-minister of foreign relations Hector Timerman conspired to cover up Iranian involvement in the two attacks. They reportedly negotiated for immunity for the suspects, and attempted to remove their names from Interpol’s most wanted list, he charged.

Six days after Nisman announced his formal complaint and on the eve of presenting his findings to the Argentinian Congress, he was found shot dead in the head in his Buenos Aires apartment, further clouding the investigation of the AMIA bombing.

“In March 2019, an Argentine court handed down convictions and sentences, finding that the judge, prosecutor and head of the Argentina’s secret services (responsible for investigating the AMIA bombing), Argentina’s deadliest terrorist attack, had interfered with the inquiry, diverting the investigation away from the truth; Whereas former federal judge Juan Jose Galeano was also handed down a sixyear conviction by the court, which will not be enforced until the sentence is confirmed by a higher tribunal,” the House statement said.

While former State Intelligence Secretariat intelligence head Hugo Anzorreguy was sentenced to 54 months in prison, and Carlos Telledin, a used car dealer who received bribes to incriminate police officers, received 42 months in jail, no Iranian suspects have been charged.


“Twenty-five years later, Iranian-backed Hezbollah continues to carry out terror operations. Twenty-five years later, antisemitism continues to threaten the lives of Jewish communities throughout Latin America, around the world, and even here in the United States. With this vote, Congress honors the victims of this horrific attack, recalls the brave work by Alberto Nisman who lost his life pursuing justice, and calls for full accountability for those responsible. It has been far too long.
 
“I urge my colleagues to stand with us against this despicable act of terrorism. And as we recall the victims today, we stand against terror and hatred and antisemitism, and we stand for justice,” Deutch concluded.



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