- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

BUENOS AIRES As Argentina tries 20 persons accused of secondary roles in the 1994 suicide bombing of South America's leading Jewish cultural center, officials hope it can shed light on those who masterminded the attack.
None of those on trial have been charged with involvement in the actual attack, only with supplying the stolen van used as a bomb that killed 86 persons.
Authorities won't say whether their investigation is close to finding those who planned and financed the bombing, except to acknowledge the probe extends beyond Argentina's borders. Initial suspicions fell on extremist Muslims, but no group has been publicly linked to the attack.
The attack came two years after a bomb wrecked the Israeli Embassy and killed 22 persons. That bombing also remains unsolved.
Some people have been frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation, particularly in light of how quickly U.S. officials have moved in terrorism cases.
"We're so far away from the First World," said Rosa de Barreiros, who was wounded and her 5-year-old son, Sebastian, killed by the 1994 bombing.
"When you see how they've solved the Oklahoma bombing and here seven years have passed from the cultural center attack and nine years from the embassy bombing without anything, it's infuriating."
Standing trial yesterday were 15 former Argentine police officers and five civilians believed to be involved in a car-theft ring. If convicted, the five facing the most serious charge of being an accessory to the attack could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison
On July 18, 1994, someone drove the stolen van, loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives, to the Argentine Israeli Mutual Aid Association and detonated it. The blast destroyed the seven-story building, tearing at the heart of the country's 300,000-member Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.
"Seven years have passed without justice, without answers, and death continues to triumph over our lives while the criminals remain free," said Hugo Ostrower, president of the Jewish center.

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