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Saturday, December 22, 2007

How Iran blew up the Jewish community building in Buenos Aires

Back in October 2006, I blogged a story in which I reported that Argentina was seeking the arrest of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 'moderate' predecessor. The Argentinean prosecutor behind that story, Alberto Nisman, was in Israel this week, and he told JPost editor David Horovitz how he discovered that the government of Iran was behind one of the biggest terror attacks of all time:
THE MEETING at which the AMIA blast was conceived and approved, Nisman says definitively, took place in Mashad, Iran's second largest city, on August 14, 1993, and was attended by then-president Rafsanjani, then-foreign minister Ali Velayati, then-intelligence minister Ali Fallahian, two Argentinean-based Iranians and two Iranian military chiefs.

Mohsen Rabbani, later given diplomatic immunity as the cultural attache at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires, had flown in from Argentina to Mashad with a list of three potential targets on which Iran could unleash its anger. "But we don't know what the other two were, since AMIA was the first one discussed and it was immediately approved," says Nisman.

Nisman's evidence, which Interpol found so credible as to uphold the arrest warrants in a unanimous vote of its executive committee in Marrakesh last month, includes a detailed, damning money trail and testimony from another former Iranian president, Abolhassan Banisadr, who now lives in France.

While Nisman stresses that his brief is only to investigate the AMIA attack, he says that other investigations, in other countries, have gathered evidence that the same Rafsanjani-led Iranian terror committee ordered a series of attacks in the early and mid-1990s in France, Germany, Switzerland and the Middle East. "All the investigators found the same hierarchy," he notes.

Hizbullah, as ever, was ordered to carry out the AMIA attack, Nisman continues, with its terror chief, Imad Mughniyeh, who has been indicted by Argentina over the Israeli Embassy bombing as well, flown from Lebanon to Teheran for instructions.

Berro, the fourth of five siblings of a Lebanese family - the father was a Fatah "militant," one brother was killed in a suicide attack on an Israeli target in south Lebanon in 1989 and another brother is also believed to have died fighting against Israel in Lebanon - was selected for the mission. Two of his brothers had emigrated to the United States. His mother, fearing that his Hizbullah activities would get him killed too, had wanted Ibrahim to join them. He would have been in Detroit, and thus unavailable, but was refused a visa, says Nisman.

The support team flew into Buenos Aires on July 1, 1994, two weeks before the blast. Berro traveled to the capital via Paraguay and Brazil, crossing into Argentina across the porous "triple frontier" at the junction of the Argentinean, Brazilian and Paraguayan borders where Hizbullah has long had a presence.

The Renault Trafic had been packed with a mixture of locally bought Amonal explosives and TNT smuggled in from abroad. It was parked, three days before the blast, a few blocks from the AMIA building. Berro was making that short journey when he narrowly missed Romero's impulsive child.

In 2005, Nisman received a photograph from Detroit of the whole Berro family. "I held my breath," he remembers. "But the picture of Ibrahim exactly matched the identikit."
Read the whole thing. And if any of you think that Iran would hesitate for a minute to use nuclear weapons against Israel, please think again.


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