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Israel's Embassy in BA commemorates bombing's 31st anniversary

Saturday, March 18th 2023 - 09:35 UTC
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The perpetrators of the attack have never been arrested The perpetrators of the attack have never been arrested

Israel's Embassy in Buenos Aires Friday held a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of its old headquarters being destroyed in a bomb attack allegedly sanctioned by Hezbollah.

The event took place at the current Ground Zero square on Arroyo street where the diplomatic building used to be and at 2.30 pm, the exact time the explosion occurred, killing 29 people and injuring over 200.

“Nothing and nobody will repair the lives lost, the dreams torn away, or the pain of the victims, but it is the lack of answers in the judiciary investigation that only deepens the pain of the losses of 31 years ago,” Justice Minister Martín Soria said in his speech. “Peoples without a memory are condemned to repeating their past,” he added.

“It is necessary that each and every one of us who have responsibility make our best efforts for this cause,” he went on before stressing that “the only progress” made in the case was to have determined Hezbollah's involvement in 1999.

“The Argentine State is responsible for not having been able to prevent this attack and is responsible for not having investigated, tried, and punished the guilty parties,” Soria said.

Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela accused Hezbollah and Iran of having perpetrated “the first arrival of international terrorism” in the country, with an attack that “had the objective of causing the greatest possible damage”.

“We owe it to ourselves to ensure that this type of criminal attack does not take place again,” the ambassador added.

Survivor Alberto Kupersmid also delivered a speech Friday and told his version of those day's events. He explained he did not know if “he was alive or dead” until he regained consciousness. “Gentlemen of the Supreme Court, after 31 years we want to know what happened with the investigation,” he stressed, “We want and need answers!” The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction because the case involved a foreign diplomatic mission.

After a minute's silence, the names of the 29 fatal victims of the attack were mentioned and Argentine and Israeli anthems were played.

In addition to Soria, also participating at the ceremony were Ministers Ministers Agustín Rossi (Cabinet Chief), Jaime Perczyk (Education), and Raquel Kismer de Olmos (Labor), in addition to city authorities and federal lawmakers, who joined Israel's Foreign Ministry Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jonathan Peled; and Argentine-Israeli Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mario Montoto.

Not attending the event was President Alberto Fernández, who underwent a painkilling surgical procedure late on Thursday for his back ailment and was advised to rest at the Olivos residence.

On March 17, 1992, the Islamic Jihad, the armed wing of the terrorist organization Hezbollah, crashed at 2.45 p.m. a Ford F-100 van into the building of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, which immediately destroyed the diplomatic headquarters that had been there for more than 4 decades and turned a large part of that Buenos Aires corner into rubble, causing serious damage to a school, a home for the elderly, a church and other neighboring buildings. The attack left 29 dead and 242 wounded.

To this day, the culprits have not been arrested. The attack remains unpunished and the victims, their families, and society as a whole continue to demand justice.

On March 17, 2000, the “Embassy of Israel” Square was inaugurated in the same place where the Israeli diplomatic institution used to be.

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