Pope calls for justice in 1994 attack on Argentine Jewish center

BUENOS AIRES Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:07pm EDT

Pope Francis waves as he leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican July 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis waves as he leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican July 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Pope Francis called for justice to be served in his native Argentina on Friday, the twentieth anniversary of the deadly bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish commuity center that local courts blamed on Iran.

Investigations into the attack in which an explosives-laden truck exploded outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building, killing 85, have advanced little in two decades. No suspect has ever been detained or taken to court.

"We tend to archive things in order not to burden ourselves with history, with suffering," the pope said in a video address in Spanish that was screened during an anniversary event organized by the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.

"Today, together with my solidarity and my prayers for all the victims comes my desire for justice. May justice be done!"

An Argentine Federal court on Thursday struck down a 2013 agreement between the South American country and Iran to investigate together the bombing - a deal that had been delayed anyway by Iranian reluctance to move forward in implementing it.

The AMIA bombing came two years after a group linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires which killed 29. Tehran has denied links to either attack.

The pope was auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires at the time of the attack.

"I have said that Buenos Aires is a city that still needs to cry, that still hasn't cried enough," he said.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Richard Chang)

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