20 years after bombing of Israel’s Embassy in Argentina: WJC leaders call for justice

20 years after bombing of Israel’s Embassy in Argentina: WJC leaders call for justice

16 March 2012

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bomb attack on Israel’s Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 17 March 1992, which was orchestrated by Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and resulted in the death of 29 people, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called on the international community to redouble efforts to root out international terrorism. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder declared: “The masterminds of this and subsequent terrorist attacks must be brought to justice. We owe that much to those who died. Not only are many of the perpetrators still at large, but there is also the question if the world has learnt the lesson of teh attack. Twenty years on, many Jewish and Israeli sites around the world are still in need of around-the-clock protection because of the continuing threat emanating primarily from Iran and its proxies.”

WJC Secretary General Dan Diker said the growing influence of Iranian and Hezbollah-backed groups in certain Latin American countries was a reason to become more vigilant: “It is high time for the international community to take decisive action against this murderous regime. Iran and its allies continue to sow violence and terror not just in the Middle East, but around the Globe. The regime in Tehran must realize that orchestrating mass killings of innocent people in far-away countries will not go unpunished.”

Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, the WJC’s regional arm, added: “The bombing of Israel’s Embassy in 1992 was the first act of terrorism of its kind in Latin America. Two decades later, the perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice, yet justice must be done if we want to avoid that such terrible acts happen again in the future.”

On 17 March 1992, a pickup truck loaded with explosives was driven into the front of the Israeli Embassy and detonated. The building, as well as a nearby church and a school building, were destroyed. 29 people were killed and 242 wounded in the blast, most of them Argentinean civilians, many of them children. An Iranian-backed group claimed responsibility for the attack, and Argentina has since presented “convincing evidence” for Iran’s and Hezbollah’s involvement in the bombing.

Two years later, on 18 July 1994, 85 people were killed in another suicide car bomb attack, this time directed against the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. Several Iranian officials, including Ahmed Vahidi, the current defense minister, are wanted by Argentina in connection with the bombing.