A former Israeli ambassador sparked a diplomatic row with Argentina and may have inadvertently admitted Israel’s responsibility for a Mossad hit in an interview last Friday.
Yitzhak Aviran, who was Israel’s ambassador to Argentina in the early 1990s, told a Jewish news agency there that most of those who carried out the bombing of the Amia Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people, “are no longer of this world. And we did it ourselves.”
Mr Aviran did not elaborate, but while the perpetrators have never been convicted, the consensus among Western intelligence agencies is that the bombing was carried out by Hizbollah with Iranian assistance.
A number of senior Hizbollah commanders have been assassinated over the years in mysterious circumstances, most prominent among them operations chief Imad Mughniye, who was killed in Damascus by a car bomb in February 2008. Mughniye was suspected of having directed the Amia bombing.
Mr Aviran’s interview caused a stir in Argentina. The special prosecutor still investigating the bombing, Albert Nissman, said: “We would like to know how he knows these details, who are these people and what proof he has.”
Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman, who drew the ire of the Jewish community and Israel in 2012 when he signed an agreement with Iran regime to jointly probe the bombing, accused Israel of witholding evidence and said he intended to call in Israel’s current ambassador to demand explanations.
Israel has never taken responsibility for Mughniye’s killing or any of the other Hizbollah assassinations. However, in a farewell event for previous IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the Mughniye hit was cryptically mentioned.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded to Mr Aviran’s interview saying that his words were “totally disconnected from reality. What he said was without authority and are figments of imagination that do not represent events or facts.”