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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Flashback: Argentina bomb
The aftermath of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires
No one has been charged over the 1994 bombing
Argentina suffered its worst terror attack ever on 18 July 1994, when the seven-storey AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires was reduced to rubble by a blast.

The explosion - the result of a car bomb - left 85 people dead, more than 200 injured, and South America's largest Jewish community in shock and horror.

More than nine years later, the community still feels it has not received justice.

Fingers of blame have been pointed at the Middle East and at the highest levels of the Argentine Government.

Twenty Argentines have been on trial for two years in connection with the bombing.

But the 300,000-strong Jewish community believes responsibility goes much higher.

Warrants

Israel and the United States agree - and the Argentine judge who has been handling the case for nine years may do so as well.

A prison van takes Hade Soleimanpour away from court on Friday 22 August
Britain is holding a former Iranian diplomat
This year, Judge Juan Jose Galeano has issued warrants for the arrest of 12 Iranians, including Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing.

The former ambassador, Hade Soleimanpour, was arrested in the UK on 21 August, sparking diplomatic rows between Iran and Argentina and between Iran and the UK.

The accusation is that the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires aided those who planned the attack - allegedly Middle Eastern guerrillas backed by Iran.

Iran denies any involvement in the bombing and says Mr Soleimanpour's arrest was politically motivated.

Aiding

Five of the Argentines on trial are accused of knowingly providing the attackers with the vehicle used in the bombing.

More than 1,200 witnesses have testified in a specially fortified court since the trial opened in September 2001.

Former Argentine President Carols Menem
Menem denies a cover-up
Judge Galeano has also interviewed an alleged former Iranian intelligence officer who reportedly said a former Argentine president accepted a $10m payment from Tehran to block the investigation.

The politician, Carlos Menem, denies the accusation - but admitted he had a secret Swiss bank account following a report in the New York Times.

The current president, Nestor Kirchner, called the unresolved investigation "a national disgrace" when he attended a memorial ceremony on the ninth anniversary of the bombing.

He opened Argentine intelligence files on the case shortly after taking office in the spring.

He also effectively lifted a decree preventing intelligence agents from testifying in the case.

The 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires - in which 29 people died - has also never been solved.

The AMIA centre has been rebuilt.


SEE ALSO:
Iran pulls envoy from Argentina
12 Mar 03  |  Americas
Iran diplomat called in bomb row
11 Mar 03  |  Americas
Iran denies Argentina blast role
09 Mar 03  |  Americas
Argentina Jewish bomb trial starts
24 Sep 01  |  Americas


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