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WORLD | 21-12-2023 14:49

US court accuses Hezbollah member of taking part in AMIA terrorist attack

Court in United States indicts Colombian-Lebanese citizen and Hezbollah member Samuel Salman El Reda, member of the group Hezbollah, on "terrorism" charges.

A court in the United States on Wednesday announced the indictment of Colombian-Lebanese citizen Samuel Salman El Reda, an alleged member of the Hezbollah group, on terrorism charges.

Samuel Salman El Reda, also known by his alias “Salman Raouf Salman,” was accused (in absentia, as he is in Lebanon) of “terrorism”, according to a press release by New York federal attorney Damian Williams, together with assistant attorney general Matthew Olsen, and the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Among other allegations, he was directly accused of taking part in  “terrorist” acts in South America, including the attack on the AMIA Argentine-Israeli Association in Buenos Aires in 1994.

“Samuel Salman El Reda has been accused for decades of carrying out terrorist operations on behalf of jihadist Islamic organisation Hezbollah, including the Buenos Aires attack, which slaughtered 85 innocent victims,” stated Williams. 

The attack on AMIA Jewish community centre, which took place on July 18, 1994 in Buenos Aires, was the worst in Argentine history and the second against the Jewish community in the country following the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that left 29 dead and more than 200 wounded.

In 2006, Argentine prosecutors accused pro-Iranian group Hezbollah of carrying out the attack on AMIA and Iranian officials of ordering it, allegations the government in Tehran denies. The case remains unsolved.

In June, the Argentine courts requested an international arrest warrant against four Lebanese men, two of them with a Paraguayan passport, suspected of a “secondary” role in the AMIA attack, among them El Reda.

Besides this attack which took place nearly 30 years ago, American courts are accusing El Reda of having “taken part in terrorist operations for Hezbollah in South America, Asia and Lebanon”.

To US authorities, “Hezbollah is an Islamic Shiite organisation based in Lebanon with political, social and terrorist components.”

Washington has suspected for some time that elements of the group have settled in South America, in the triple frontier between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, three countries where many people of Lebanese extraction live.

In November, the Brazilian police arrested three people within an investigation on the preparation of “terrorist” attacks in the country orchestrated, according to Israel, by Hezbollah.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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