New DNA identified in AMIA Jewish center bombing points to suicide attack

JTA

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — A new set of DNA has been identified among the 85 victims of the AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish Center attack, strengthening the hypothesis that the 1994 attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

The discovery was announced on Monday by the AMIA Special Investigation Unit of the General Prosecution, two weeks before the 23rd anniversary of the bombing that also injured hundreds. The final report after two years of investigation by a forensics team, reveals for first time the existence of a genetic profile among the reserved remains in the laboratory of the Federal Police that “doesn’t belong to any known victims.”

With this information the prosecutors in charge of the special unit are working on “the hypothesis of the suicide bomber” and have already taken steps “in the field of international cooperation to try to match the profile obtained with that of samples of relatives of the suspected individual.” The suspected individual isn’t mentioned in the report released to the public but is part of a previous report by the special unit, where he is named as Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a Lebanese citizen and an alleged member of the terrorist group Hezbollah.

In May 2016, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI director James Comey  met in Washington, D.C., with Argentine Justice Minister Germán Garavano and offered to extend technical help to the Argentinean Justice Department regarding the AMIA attack and the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

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The body of a possible suicide terrorist was never found or identified until now. Five Iranians are on the Interpol international police agency’s most wanted list in connection with the AMIA 1994 attack, however.

Prosecutors Sabrina Namer, Roberto Salum and Leonardo Filippini have led the AMIA Special Investigatory Unit since their predecessor, Alberto Nisman, who was discovered shot dead in his apartment in January 2015 hours before he had been scheduled to appear in Congress  to present allegations that then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner orchestrated a secret deal to cover up Iranian officials’ alleged role in the AMIA bombing. Fernandez denied the allegations and judges threw out the case; it was reopened one year ago, though no conclusions have yet been announced.

The two years work on the DNA analysis was conducted by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, the Forensic Medical Body and the University of Buenos Aires. The same team one year ago identified victim number 85 of the AMIA attack.

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