Argentina and Israel gathered on Friday to honour the 29 victims of the 1992 terrorist car bombing at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, the first of two deadly attacks against Jewish interests in Argentina. The second in July 1994 against the Jewish community organization AMIA claimed 85 lives.
The ceremony held at a concrete open space where once stood the embassy building, was marked by the call for justice as the deadly attack remains unsolved and the perpetrators at large twenty years later.
The attack occurred on 17 March but the ceremony was advanced a day because Saturday is Shabbat, the holy rest day for the Jewish religion. The bombing claimed the lives of 29 Israelis and Argentines wounding over 242, and is believed to have been planned and executed by Hezbollah with Iranian support.
Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou, Justice Minister Julio Alak, cabinet chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina, Defence Minister Arturo Puricelli and representatives from the City of Buenos Aires attended the ceremony as President Cristina was in an official visit in Chile. Israel sent a delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Danny Ayalon and Minister without portfolio Yossi Peled and which included former diplomat Itzhak Shefi who was then ambassador in Argentina.
Acting president Boudou said the bombing was ‘an attack against the 40 million Argentines’ and Justice minister Alak stated that the attacks to the Israel Embassy and the AMIA Jewish Community Centre “are a deep wound in the Republic” and highlighted that currently Argentina “is fully committed in the fight against international terrorism”.
Both the Argentine Supreme Court and Israel are convinced that the Islamic Jihad belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization and financed by Iran were responsible for the planning and execution of the attack.
A week before at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a similar ceremony for the 17 March 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced the construction of a new embassy and accused Iran of supporting international terrorism.
“Here and now I want to announce that next year the State of Israel with the help of God, will begin the construction of a building to house the new embassy in Buenos Aires. Not a temporal building of several floors, but the glory and an example to preserve the memory of the victims”, said Lieberman.
He added that “this attack and the one on AMIA have been recorded in the history and national memory of the State of Israel and of the Argentina people” and then warned that the international community must not underestimate Iran’s participation in global terrorism or the repeated threats from the ayatollahs’ regime”.
“The Islamic Republic and Hezbollah wish to attack has only increased with age. We need international cooperation to impede this” underlined Lieberman who added that the so called triple border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay is a Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure “and a threat not only for Israel but for the free world”.
The Israeli minister also praised the work displayed by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman who since 2005 has been investigating the AMIA attack.
“I want to thank Dr, Nisman who since his naming in the investigation has worked tirelessly to track the planners and perpetrators of the attacks and has released arrest orders against them. Now it is world wide known that Iran was behind the attacks, through its terrorist organization in Lebanon, Hezbollah” indicated the Israeli minister.