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Netanyahu praises Fernandez for his “persistence” in investigating the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires

Saturday, January 25th 2020 - 09:58 UTC
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Argentine president Alberto Fernandez and First Lady were hosted for by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife . Argentine president Alberto Fernandez and First Lady were hosted for by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife .

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday congratulated Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez for his “persistence” in investigating a 1994 bombing of a Jewish community in Buenos Aires.

Fernandez’s vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was accused by the case’s special prosecutor of a cover up in the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) headquarters, which left 85 dead and 300 wounded.

Kirchner, who was president from 2007 to 2015, was accused of having attempted to cover up Iranian involvement in the bombing in return for lucrative trade deals with her government.

The AMIA prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was found shot dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in 2015 in what was controversially ruled a suicide. He had been shot in the head from close range by a handgun which was found at his side.

The timing and circumstances of his death were suspicious: it came just days after he directly accused then-president Cristina Kirchner and some of her top aides of the cover up, and he had been due to outline his case against Kirchner before lawmakers shortly after his death.

His death was initially ruled a likely suicide but an Argentine federal appeals court later found that he was murdered. Earlier this month, Fernandez said he doubted Nisman was murdered, and rejected Nisman’s claim of a cover up by Cristina Kirchner, calling it “absurd.”

Fernandez also cast doubt on the suicide ruling, saying “I doubt that someone who was going through an euphoric moment could commit suicide, I don’t know that. I’m allowing myself to doubt it.”

The statements came after a Netflix miniseries on Nisman was released which includes a 2017 interview in which Fernandez says that “Till this very day, I doubt he killed himself.”

In July, Fernandez testified in Kirchner’s trial over a newspaper interview he gave in 2015 criticizing her for allowing Iranian suspects to be questioned in Teheran, rather than in Argentina.

In Nisman’s investigation, he established that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group was responsible for the carnage, and traced the commissioning of the attack to Iran’s leaders. Cristina Kirchner, who was indicted in 2017 in connection with the alleged cover-up of Iran’s involvement in the bombing, denies any wrongdoing.

Some 3,000 Argentines paid tribute to Nisman last week on the fifth anniversary of his death at a rally in Buenos Aires. The demonstrators shouted “murderer” every time Cristina Kirchner’s name was mentioned as their way of blaming her for Nisman’s death. They denied suggestions that he had committed suicide. The protesters also leveled heavy criticism at president Alberto Fernandez.

Netanyahu had welcomed Fernandez and his partner, Fabiola Yanez, to his Jerusalem residence on their first visit to Israel, an official statement said. Fernandez had been in Israel for the World Holocaust Forum marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

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