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Argentine Jews mark embassy bombing

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A banner in an urban square dedicated to peace in Rosario, Argentina, commemorates the bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre. The banner shows a sum 22 + 85 (the number of deceased in each bombing) and the result, 6,000,107, a reference to the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. The photo was taken in March 2006. [Pablo D. Flores/Wikimedia photo]

BUENOS AIRES — The Jewish community here commemorated the 21st anniversary of a deadly attack on the city’s Israeli embassy.

Nearly 1,500 people participated in the March 17 demonstration organized by the embassy to mark the attack, which Argentina and Israel blame on Iran.

On the afternoon of March 17, 1992, a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives into the front of the embassy, killing 29 and injuring 242.

Sunday’s rally also protested the memorandum of understanding signed recently between Argentina and Iran on a joint investigation of the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires. Over Jewish community protests, Argentina’s congress last month approved the agreement. 

The attack, which killed 85 and injured hundreds, is believed to have been carried out under orders from Tehran. Six Iranians are wanted by Interpol in connection with the bombing, including Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Maria Eugenia Vidal, vice-chief of the Buenos Aires city government, told the crowd on Sunday, “The bomb exploded in the centre of Buenos Aires, in the middle of the heart of all Argentines.”

AMIA President Guillermo Borger told JTA that the number of demonstrators this year was higher than in previous commemorations, in part because people wanted to express their opposition to the agreement with Iran.

U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Vilma Martinez also attended the demonstration. No  high-ranking members of Argentina’s national government participated. 

In related news, Interpol will not lift the arrest warrants for Iranians suspected of involvement in the AMIA bombing, despite Tehran’s supposed co-operation with Argentina in investigating the event.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman cited a letter from the international police organization during a news conference on March 15 in explaining that the arrest warrants would remain active. Six Iranians are wanted by Interpol in connection with the bombing, including Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi. 

“Some organizations from the [Jewish] community said that the agreement with Iran is a step to the precipice,” Timerman said. “But this document from Interpol shows that the government is always working for the justice, the memory and the truth.”

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