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WH Commemorates 25 Years Since the Hezbollah Bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish Center; 85 Killed in Deadly Blast

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Ammonium nitrate has also been used in other major terrorist attacks, including the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. Investigators implicated Hezbollah and senior Iranian regime officials in that plot. Photo Credit: Twitter

Twenty-five years ago, on July 18th, Hizballah—an Iranian proxy designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization—bombed the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85 innocent civilians and injuring hundreds more.  The AMIA bombing, carried out by key Hizballah operatives and coordinated by Salman Raouf Salman, remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history. At the Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial in Buenos Aires, America’s counterterrorism partners from around the globe have gathered to commemorate this somber anniversary and to renew our shared commitment to jointly combat terrorism and its enablers.  

Edited by: JV Staff

In 2018, the Jewish Voice reported that the US and Argentina had vowed to work closely together to cut off Hezbollah’s funding networks in Latin America.

Argentina has a large Lebanese expatriate population and US authorities suspect groups within it of raising funds through organized crime to support the Iranian-backed armed movement.

In early 2018, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Buenos Aires for talks with his Argentinian counterpart Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, and afterwards they confirmed that the issue had come up.

“With respect to Hezbollah, we also did speak today in our discussion about all of the region about how we must all jointly go after these transnational criminal organizations — narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, money laundering — because we see the connections to terrorist financing organizations as well,” Tillerson said.

“And we did specifically discuss the presence of Lebanese Hezbollah in this hemisphere, which is raising funds, obviously, to support its terrorist activities.

“So it is something that we jointly agree we need to attack and eliminate,” Tillerson said.

Faurie said that South America had become a “zone of peace” and that outside groups must not be allowed to jeopardize this.

“And, as Secretary Tillerson said, we need to intensify every possible exchange not only in terms of dialogue but also in terms of information on the actions of these groups which take advantage of transnational crime to foster their interests, which Argentina certainly does not agree with,” he said.

In 1992, the violence of the Middle East erupted in Argentina, when bombers attacked the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people. Two years later, an attack on a Jewish community center in the city left 85 dead.

None of the bombers were ever convicted, but international investigators followed a trail that appears to link them to Hezbollah — a group which Washington has designated a terrorist organization — and to senior Iranian officials.

The bombings did not continue, but US experts believe that Hezbollah, working under close Iranian supervision, has built a fund-raising network in Latin America that profits from drug smuggling to fund its political and military activities.

According to a statement issued from the White House regarding the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the AIMA, it stated: “The United States stands with the people of Argentina and the Jewish community as we reflect upon that terrible day in Argentina’s history.  When President Donald J. Trump released the National Strategy for Counterterrorism in October 2018, he made a solemn promise to the American people to spare no effort to preserve the safety and security of the United States and its citizens. The United States and its partners throughout the Western Hemisphere will continue to take meaningful steps to ensure that our countries defend against the threat of terrorism and that we continue to do all that we can to protect our citizens. “

 

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