People hold portraits of victims of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community center as they gather to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the attack in Buenos Aires. Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

5,000 remember victims of Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing on its 23rd anniversary


The death of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor in the AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires, will forever be linked to the attack, the center’s president told thousands at a gathering marking the bombing’s 23rd anniversary.

“We know the truth about the AMIA massacre due to the investigation by a prosecutor who honored his work, even surrendering his own life like Alberto Nisman” in order to fulfill his duty, Agustin Zbar said Tuesday at a commemoration. “Hopefully soon enough we will have light shed on the details of his tragic end. His death is indissolubly linked to his task in the AMIA case. It is a direct consequence of the impunity of the AMIA foreign criminals who he bravely faced.”

Zbar, a lawyer, said the judiciary file on the case points to Hezbollah and Iran as the culprits, but no one has been brought to justice for an attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds. “Our fellow Muslim compatriots must also repudiate and denounce the violent actions of Iran and Hezbollah in Argentina, as well as those of terrorists in the United States, Europe, Israel or wherever they may be.”

The AMIA investigation was led by Nisman, a Jewish prosecutor who was found dead on Jan. 18, 2015, hours before he was to present his allegations of a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the bombing. His allegations named former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, former foreign minister Hector Timerman and their government. The cause of his death — murder or suicide — has not been

An agreement for Argentina and Iran to jointly investigate the bombing was voided by a new Argentine government in 2015.

Luis Czyzewski, whose 21-year-old daughter Paola was killed in the bombing, also was a main speaker at the event held in front of the rebuilt AMIA building in Pasteur Street in the center of Buenos Aires. The ceremony started at 9:53 a.m., the time that a car bomb exploded at the center on July 18, 1994.

“When we look at the consequences of the bomb, we cannot fail to mention Nisman’s death,” Czyzewski said. “Today the complaint that led to the death of Nisman is being investigated. It is the duty of the Justice Department to reach the truth in the shortest possible time.

Czyzewski noted that in June, the United Nations launched a counterterrorist office proposed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“We believe that this is the right moment to denounce Iran there as a country that promotes and finances terrorist activities,” he said.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said in a statement that “the Iranian government has a responsibility to cooperate fully with Argentine authorities in bringing the perpetrators to justice. On this occasion, we also reflect upon the significant contributions of prosecutor Alberto Nisman in investigating the AMIA bombing, and note the importance of clarifying the circumstances of his tragic death.”

Argentine government ministers and officials were among the 5,000 people in attendance at the ceremony. President Mauricio Macri was not on hand but expressed his support on Friday when he met with AMIA leaders at the presidential residence.

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer attended the ceremony with parliamentarians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay who are participating in a two-day meeting of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, or ICJP, to develop legislation to prevent and combat terrorist attacks in the region.

Also Tuesday, the Argentine Federation of Jewish Sport Clubs tweeted photos of solidarity from Israel from the South American nation’s delegation to the just-ended Maccabiah Games.

The name of Augusto Daniel Jesus was added the list of the victims this year. In August 2016, he was identified as the 85th victim based on an analysis of DNA taken from the body and from his mother, who also was killed in the attack.

Iran is also widely believed to be responsible for the bombing two years earlier of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

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