US unseals indictment charging Hezbollah operative for bombing Argentina Jewish community center – JURIST

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment Wednesday filed against Samuel Salman El Reda for his alleged involvement in a Hezbollah attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina three decades ago.

Hezbollah, which translates to the “Party of God,” is a Lebanese militant group that formed after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. It is backed by the Iranian government.

The 20-page indictment outlines the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina in Buenos Aires. The US government claims El Reda helped Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), a designated terrorist organization in the US, Israel, and the UK, among others. The bombing killed 85 people and caused hundreds of injuries. Specifically, the indictment outlines El Reda’s immigration to Buenos Aires in the late 1980s and his relationships with individuals in the area with ties to people associated with Hezbollah, like financier Assad Ahmad Baraka.

The US cited phone calls from El Reda in early July 1994, prior to the terror attack, disseminating information about IJO members operating in the area to plan the bombing. In 2007, El Reda allegedly began recruiting and training new IJO operatives to carry out future terrorist attacks; he was further linked to IJO operative Mohammed Ghaleb Hamdar in 2015.

Spanning 22 years, the indictment charges El Reda with conspiracy to provide material support to Hezbollah, encompassed under 18 USC § 2339A‘s criminalization of providing support to a terrorist organization. The government alleges El Reda knowingly “agree[d] to provide Hezbollah with … tangible and intangible property, training services, expert advice and assistance, and personnel (including [himself]).”

He also faces counts involving aiding and abetting (assisting) the teaching of military-type training from Hezbollah (18 USC § 2339D), with the government claiming El Reda was responsible for “one or more IJO operatives to receive training in the use of weapons and military tactics from other members of [Hezbollah].”

Throughout the Israel-Hamas war, Hezbollah has supported Hamas. In October, fighting between Hezbollah and Israel displaced more than 4,000 residents of southern Lebanon.

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