Even After 25 Years, AMIA Bombing Victims’ Families Still Have No Justice

Written by Kyle Purchase on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association

On July 18th, 1994 at 9:53 a.m., a car bomb exploded in the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. This bombing was a targeted attack on the AMIA, an organization promoting the welfare and individual, family and institutional development of Jewish life in Argentina. After the dust had settled, 85 people – with ages ranging from toddlers to the elderly – were proclaimed dead, while several hundred were left injured.

Since this horrific act of terrorism, there has not been a single individual arrested or convicted. There was, however, an initial investigation led by an Argentinian prosecutor, who was going to testify with a 300-page report to the Argentinian congress. Coincidentally, the day before he could address his report (which had initial indictments), he was found dead in his hotel room.

The Argentinian government has signed a joint agreement with Iran to investigate the perpetrators, however, there is some controversy around this agreement, as Iran has been accused by Argentine courts of sponsoring the attacks. Pertaining to the alleged perpetrators, the culprits were believed to be members of Hezbollah, a terrorist group based out of Lebanon.

On the 25th anniversary of the bombing, the American Jewish Community (AJC) of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, along with civic leaders from Philadelphia and Honorary Consuls from Nicaragua, Uruguay, and the Deputy Consul from Mexico in Philadelphia, held a memorial event where the victims’ names were read aloud during a candlelight ceremony. There was also the screening of a short, moving film documenting how terrorism impacts not just the political aspect of a country, but rather the emphasis on the impact on the victims’ family life.

The AJC of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey remain committed to a call for bringing the perpetrators to justice, as well as commemorating the victims whose lives were cut short by an act of terrorism.