Marking 25 years since Jewish center bombing, Argentina blacklists Hezbollah

Argentina designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization on Thursday, 25 years to the day after a deadly bombing on a Jewish center blamed on the Iran-backed Lebanese group.

Authorities in Argentina ordered the freezing of assets tied to Hezbollah and its members, a move that a government source told the Reuters news agency automatically includes it on the country’s new terror blacklist.

“At present, Hezbollah continues to represent a current threat to security and the integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,” Argentina’s Financial Information Unit was quoted saying in a statement.

The designation came as Argentina marked 25 years since the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in which 85 people were killed.

Sirens rang out in cities throughout the country at 9:53 a.m. the exact time the bomb ripped through the Buenos Aires building, and names of those killed were read out at official ceremony.

Both Argentina and Israel have also attributed the 1992 bombing on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that left 29 dead on Hezbollah.

The designation came a day after the Argentine government created a terror blacklist for the first time, paving the way for the designation.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised Argentine President Maurico Macri for the decision.

“We’ll continue to act in every place to include Hezbollah on the terror organizations list. The entire world must unite in the struggle against terror spread by Iran and its proxies,” he wrote on Twitter.

The move was also praised by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who said the issue was at the center of her talks with Argentine officials during her recent visit to the South American state.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has ramped up pressure on Iran and Hezbollah while in office, was in Buenos Aires to attend the memorial commemorations.

Argentina has accused top Iranian ex-officials of being behind the AMIA attack but has never been able to question them.

Decades of investigations have been beset by political interference and allegations of high-level corruption.

With its 300,000-strong Jewish community — second only to the US in the Americas — Argentina is the only country in Latin America to have suffered such an anti-Semitic attack.

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