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Monday, July 18th marks the 17th anniversary of the AMIA Bombing - a terrorist attack of the headquarters of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association in Buenos Aires.

Cruel, deliberate, and indiscriminate, the bombing was by far the worst terrorist act in the history of Argentina and the largest Jewish death toll from antisemitic terrorism outside Israel since World War II. A powerful bomb was driven through the front gates of the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires. The large, seven-story building was the headquarters of Argentina's Jewish community. At 9:53 a.m. the bomber detonated the bomb, leveling the building and reducing it to rubble. It destroyed adjacent buildings and damaged apartments, shops, and houses around the block.

The toll: 85 murdered; over 300 wounded and the area around the building, the heart of the traditional Jewish neighborhood, resembled a war-torn city: services cut, transit rerouted, buildings propped up with beams to avoid collapse. The irony: Jews and non-Jews alike suffered from this cruel act of anti-Semitic terrorism.

It is widely accepted that Hezbollah masterminded and perpetrated the act of terrorism, as it had, 2 years before, when the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires had been bombed. Middle East terrorism had thus reared its ugly head in South America.

The investigations into the AMIA atrocity, however, have been mired in controversy and corruption. The Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina upheld a finding, several years ago, that the investigation had been fatally flawed by the actions of the investigating judge, the state prosecutors and the government.

To date, no one has been brought to justice.

The Argentinean Manitoban Association with the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and B’nai Brith will remember the victims of the AMIA terrorist bombing at a special service on July 18th at 5:30 pm, in the Berney Theatre, Asper Jewish Community Campus, 123 Doncaster Street. All are welcome.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.