How Iran planned the Buenos Aires blast
Israeli intelligence has uncovered most of the details of Iran's involvement in the July 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left some 100 people dead and 250 wounded.
Israeli intelligence has uncovered most of the details of Iran's involvement in the July 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left some 100 people dead and 250 wounded. The details include an account of a meeting of the Iranian Supreme Council for National Security at which the decision to go ahead with the bombing was made. Israel also has the name of the bomber, Ibrahim Hasin Baro, a Hezbollah man, as well as the transcript of his farewell phone call to Lebanon.
The Argentine government recently released details of its investigation into another terror incident - the bombing of the Israeli Embassy on March 17, 1992, in which 30 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded. That bombing was also conducted by Iranian intelligence services, with Hezbollah playing a key role in its execution. The methods of operation in both cases were the same.
The decision in principle to strike at the Jewish community center was made in August 1993 at a meeting chaired by Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other participants included President Rafsanjani, Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, Khamenei's intelligence and security adviser, Muhamed Hijazi, and the country's foreign minister at the time, Velayati.
The meeting was convened because it was to be the second major explosion in the Argentine capital after the embassy bombing 18 months earlier. Israeli intelligence believes the reason Buenos Aires was chosen a second time was because of a deterioration in relations between the two countries at the time.
Intelligence Minister Fallahian was given responsibility for the job. To back up the mission, Khamenei issued a fatwa instructing him to undertake the mission. Fallahian ordered the mission be given to the Overseas Operations Unit of the Hezbollah, headed by Amad Amiad Maghnieh, with Iranian intelligence providing full aid and cooperation. That Hezbollah unit was also responsible for the embassy bombing. The Hezbollah found the suicide bomber, Baro, a Hezbollah man, who arrived a few days before the bombing. A few hours before the bombing, Baro called his family in Lebanon, telling them he was going to be unified with his brother, who was killed in a car bombing attack on Israeli soldiers in Lebanon in 1989.
The Iranian foreign service provided much of the diplomatic cover for the operation. There was an unusual number of Iranian couriers coming in and out of the country before the bombing, with some staying longer than usual in Argentina, and there was a dramatic increase in telephone traffic between various Iranian elements in Argentina and Iran in the days leading up to the bombing.
The Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry representative in Argentina, Mahsan Rabani, also was involved. In 1993, he began inquiring about renting a commercial van in Buenos Aires, asking specifically for a Renault Traffic, the type of van used by the bomber.