Hezbollah Militant Identified in '94 Blast

By BILL CORMIER
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 9, 2005; 8:34 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A Hezbollah militant has been identified as the suicide bomber who flattened a Jewish community center in 1994, killing 85 people in Argentina's worst terrorist attack, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the breakthrough in the 11-year-old case came when investigators traveled to Detroit, where friends and relatives identified Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese citizen, in a photograph.


Firefighters and rescue workers search through the rubble of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community on July 18, 1994 photo, after a car bomb struck the building. The suicide bomber who detonated a van packed with explosives outside a Jewish community center in 1994, killing 85 people in Argentina's worst terrorist attack, has been identified as a Hezbollah militant, a prosecutor said Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005. (AP Photo/Alejandro Pagni)
Firefighters and rescue workers search through the rubble of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community on July 18, 1994 photo, after a car bomb struck the building. The suicide bomber who detonated a van packed with explosives outside a Jewish community center in 1994, killing 85 people in Argentina's worst terrorist attack, has been identified as a Hezbollah militant, a prosecutor said Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005. (AP Photo/Alejandro Pagni) (Alejandro Pagni - AP)

Hussein Berro, a 21-year-old Lebanese citizen who "belonged to Hezbollah," was driving the van packed with explosives July 18, 1994, when it exploded outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Aid Association, prosecutor Alberto Nisman alleged.

The blast leveled the seven-story building, a symbol of Argentina's more than 200,000-strong Jewish population.

Argentine investigators had faced domestic and international pressure to make headway in the case.

Hussein 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 Hussein Berro reportedly had been in contact with the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires.

Iran had no immediate comment on the latest developments.

The Jewish center bombing was the second of two attacks targeting Jews in Argentina during the 1990s. A March 1992 blast destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people in a case that has also been blamed on Hezbollah. Hezbollah has denied responsibility for both bombings.

Leaders of Argentina's Jewish community accused Iran of organizing the attack. Tehran repeatedly has denied that.

Nisman said Wednesday that suspicions of Iranian involvement in the attack was among several lines of investigation.

Investigators believe the attacker entered Argentina in the tri-border region at the joint borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, a center of drug smuggling and alleged terrorist fund-raising, Nisman said.

For years, the Jewish community pressured Argentine law enforcement for progress in finding those responsible for the attack on the community center, which also wounded more than 200 people.


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