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CLARIN, ADNMUNDO (Argentina) HAARETZ (Israel) JEWISH CHRONICLE (UK)

Worldcrunch

On July 18, 1994, 85 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the bombing of the main Jewish association in Buenos Aires, an attack that Israelis and Argentinian prosecutors have long suspected Iran of masterminding. Exactly 18 years later, on the same day, six Israeli tourists and their driver were killed in a bus explosion in seaside resort in Bulgaria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left no doubt that he saw a connection between the two bombings, blaming Iran for Wednesday's attack as well.

"In the past months we saw Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Kenya, and Cyprus," Netanyahu said in a statement, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. "This is an Iranian terror offensive that is spreading throughout the world," he said, warning that Israel will issue a "strong response against Iranian terror."

Then Netanyahu added: "Exactly 18 years after the attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, the Iranian terror continues to hurt innocent people."

The 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) center left a scar on Jews across much of Latin America, and some of Argentina's 200,000 Jewish community emigrated after the attack.

During Wednesday's annual commemoration ceremony in Buenos Aires, the President of the AMIA, Guillermo Borger, said that the families of victims have been waiting since 1994 for justice to be done, the Argentine website Adnmundo reports. Until today, no one has ever been convicted for the bombing. In 2006, Argentine courts determined that Tehran was behind the attacks, allegedly because of Buenos Aires' decision to suspend a nuclear material delivery and technology transfer.

Several members of the government in Buenos Aires took part in the ceremonies at AMIA center. President Cristina Kirchner was absent, as she was visiting neighbor country Bolivia. Argentine daily Clarin reported that Borger accused the Bolivian government of receiving an Iranian official involved in the attack 18 years ago. As for Iran, the AMIA representative said "it is a theocratic state that does not cooperate with the law of our country, mocking and denying each demand of our President."

Though it may be difficult to quickly ascertain responsibility of the Bulgaria attack, and to prove a connection with what happened in Buenos Aires, the two attacks are bound to share a link by the anniversary they now share.

"While separated by years and by miles, these attacks are related: the targets were Jews, they were civilians, they were children, women and men the World Union for Progressive Judaism said in a statement, according to the Jewish Chronicle. "We stand with Israel and Jews around the world to decry this horror and we stand in solidarity with all who seek the paths to peace."

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