Sunday, November 13, 2005

Terror Worldwide!!!

Hezbollah ID'd in 1994 Argentina attack
Dozens of people killed at Jewish center

Wednesday, November 9, 2005; Posted: 8:12 p.m. EST (01:12 GMT)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The Argentine government on Wednesday identified a Hezbollah militant as the suicide bomber who destroyed a Jewish community center and killed 85 people in 1994, embracing accusations made earlier by Jewish groups and the U.S. Congress.

The announcement by prosecutor Alberto Nisman added to earlier accusations that the Iranian-backed group was responsible for Argentina's worst terrorist attack, though he did not specifically allege Iranian involvement.

Nisman said at a news conference that Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese citizen, detonated a van packed with explosives at the community center in downtown Buenos Aires, which served the country's more than 200,000 Jews.

Berro had been identified as the suspected bomber in a resolution passed on July 22, 2004, by the U.S. House of Representatives that urged a solution to the case. The resolution said that Berro reportedly been in contact with the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Iran had no immediate comment on the latest developments, but it has vehemently denied earlier allegations of involvement. Nisman said there are several lines of investigation, "including the hypothesis of help from Iran."

Nisman said Hussein "belonged to Hezbollah," an international Iranian-backed Islamic militant group. He said friends and relatives of the man identified him through a photograph, which he called a major breakthrough in the decade-old probe.

Nisman said investigators believe the 21-year-old attacker entered Argentina in the tri-border region at the joint borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, a center of smuggling and alleged terrorist fundraising.

For years, the Jewish community pressured Argentine law enforcement to solve the attack, which also wounded more than 200 people.

A leading Argentine political analyst, Rosendo Fraga, said the announcement seemed to be a response to that pressure.

"It doesn't seem to me that there's anything here that's new and relevant," Fraga said.

In March 2003, a judge asked Interpol for help in arresting four Iranian diplomats allegedly involved in the bombing. Iran recalled its ambassador from Buenos Aires and denied involvement.

In August 2003, English authorities detained Hade Soleimanpour, the Iranian ambassador to Argentina when the attack occurred, but he was later freed on bail when a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence against him.

The judge in charge of the case was removed in December 2003 after complaints of slow progress.

Survivors have bitterly decried the lack of leads, noting that swift progress was made by investigators in other countries after terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid and London.

The Jewish center bombing was the second of two such attacks targeting Jews in Argentina during the 1990s. A March 1992 blast destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people. That bombing also remains unsolved.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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