BEIRUT

Middle East

Israel denies killing Buenos Aires bombers: media

  • File - Israeli ambassador to Argentina (1993-2000), Yitzhak Aviran, casts his ballot at the embassy in Buenos Aires on May 5 1999AFP PHOTO/Daniel GARCIA

JERUSALEM: Israeli officials Friday denied claims by a former envoy that Israel had killed most of those behind bombings at its embassy and Jewish charity offices in Argentina in the 1990s, media said.

News website Ynet quoted foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor describing as "complete nonsense," the allegation by Itzhak Aviran, Israel's ambassador to Argentina from 1993 to 2000.

The July 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Charities Federation (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires killed 85 people. Hundreds were hurt in a bombing Argentina says was masterminded by Iran.

Two years earlier, in March 1992, a car bombing in front of the Israeli embassy in the capital killed 29 and wounded 200 others.

"The large majority of those responsible are no longer of this world, and we did it ourselves," Aviran told the Buenos Aires-based AJN Jewish news agency on Thursday.

"He is completely detached from the reality in Israel," public radio's website wrote, citing an unnamed Israeli diplomatic source. "There is no truth in what he says."

Two decades after the blasts, those who instigated them have not been brought to justice.

Neither Carlos Menem, who was Argentina's president from 1989 to 1999, nor his successor Fernando de la Rua and those who followed "did anything to get to the bottom of this tragedy," Aviran told AJN.

"We still need an answer (from the Argentine government) on what happened," he added. "We know who the perpetrators of the embassy bombing were and they did it a second time."

Courts in Argentina have charged eight Iranians over the AMIA bombing and authorities are demanding their extradition. They include former defence minister Ahmad Vahidi and ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Argentine authorities also suspect Iran of being behind the 1992 bombing.

Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.

Argentina's 300,000-strong Jewish community is the largest in Latin America.

 
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