1992 Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires
History of Argentina
Jewish Argentine history
Terrorism in Argentina
1992 in Argentina
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The Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires was a bomb attack against Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 17, 1992. At 2:42pm, a pickup truck driven by a suicide bomber and loaded with explosives smashed into the front of the Israeli Embassy located on the corner of Arroyo and Suipacha, and detonated. The embassy, a Catholic church, and a nearby school building were destroyed. Four Israelis died, but most of the victims were Argentine civilians, many of them children.
The blast killed 29 and wounded 242. It was Argentina's deadliest terror attack until the AMIA Bombing of 1994, and as of 2008 it remains the deadliest attack on an Israeli diplomatic mission.
A group called Islamic Jihad Organization, which has been linked to Iran and possibly Hezbollah, claimed responsibility; their stated motive for the attack was Israel's assassination of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Abbas al-Musawi in February, which in turn was in retaliation for the kidnapping and death of missing Israeli servicemen in 1986 and abduction of US Marine and UN peace-keeping officer William R. Higgins in 1988.
Islamic Jihad also released surveillance footage they took of the embassy before the blast.
After the bombing, Israel sent investigators to Argentina to search for clues. They learned that the bombers planned the attack in the Tri-Border area, where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil meet and which has a large Shia Muslim population. Messages intercepted by the American National Security Agency revealed Iranian knowledge of the impending attack, as well as the complicity of Hezbollah operative Imad Mugniyeh.
In May 1998, Moshen Rabbani, (the Cultural Attache in the Iranian Embassy in Argentina until December 1997) was detained in Germany, and the Argentine government expelled seven Iranian diplomats from the country, stating that it had "convincing proof" of Iranian involvement in the bombing. However, none of the suspects have been prosecuted. In fact the attack occurred when Iran and Argentina were hoping for a resumption of nuclear cooperation, although Argentina had announced the suspension of the shipments of nuclear materials to Iran a couple months before the bombing. Argentina's Iranian nuke connection, Gareth Porter, Nov 15, 2006 A number of sources report on Hezbollah involvement with the assistance of Syria. Hezbollah denies these claims.
In 1999, the Argentinian government issued an arrest warrant for Imad Mugniyah in connection with this attack and the 1994 AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires, which killed 85. It is suspected that the two attacks are linked.Norton, Augustus Richard, Hezbollah: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2007, p.79
Kirchner on the case
As President, Nestor Kirchner has pronounced that allowing these two incidents to happen, with no real inquiries to be followed, equals a "national disgrace" [*]. He reopened, and kept open files from these incidents, most to be read by Justice Juan Jose Galeano. In the same process Kirchner would lift the ban for former Intelligence Officers (Argentine) to testify. The current President of Argentina seems also to want to get to the bottom of the case.
Today there is a memorial set up in place of where the building stood. In the memorial plaza stand twenty one trees and seven benches in memory of the victims. A plaque describing the event and listing the victims is located in the memorial in both Hebrew and Spanish.
Secretaria de Inteligencia
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History of the Jews in Argentina
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Bergman, Ronen. ''The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World's Most Dangerous Terrorist Power''. Simon and Schuster, 2008. ISBN 141655839X
Context of 'March 17, 1992: Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires Is Bombed, Hezbollah and Iran Accused Despite Lack of Evidence' -History Commons
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