New DNA evidence from AMIA attack may belong to bomber
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New DNA evidence from AMIA attack may belong to bomber

Argentinian prosecutors seek to match profile that ‘doesn’t belong to any known victims’ to relatives of Ibrahim Berro

An undated photo of Ibrahim Hussein Berro (Courtesy)
An undated photo of Ibrahim Hussein Berro (Courtesy)

Newly analyzed DNA evidence from the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires could provide a definitive link to suicide bomber Ibrahim Berro, the Hezbollah terrorist who carried out the attack and whose body was never found or identified until now.

The discovery was announced on Monday by the AMIA Special Investigation Unit of the Argentinian General Prosecution, two weeks before the 23rd anniversary of the bombing that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

The final report after two years of investigation by a forensics team, reveals for the first time the existence of a genetic profile among the preserved remains in the laboratory of the Federal Police that “doesn’t belong to any known victims.”

With this information prosecutors have 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.”

A man walks over the rubble after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 1994. (AFP/Ali Burafi)
A man walks over the rubble after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 1994. (AFP/Ali Burafi)

In 2005 special prosecutor Alberto Nisman identified Berro as the suicide bomber who carried out the attack. Berro’s brothers denied he was involved, claiming he was killed in fighting in Lebanon. Some Argentinian journalists also cast doubt on the assertion.

In May 2016, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI director James Comey met in Washington, DC, 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 Nisman.

Prosecutors Sabrina Namer, Roberto Salum and Leonardo Filippini have led the AMIA Special Investigatory Unit since their predecessor Nisman was discovered shot dead in his apartment in January 2015, hours before he was scheduled to appear in Congress. Nisman had been about 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.

Late Argentinean public prosecutor Alberto Nisman gives a news conference in Buenos Aires, May 20, 2009. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)
Late Argentinean public prosecutor Alberto Nisman gives a news conference in Buenos Aires, May 20, 2009. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

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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