January 6, 2020 / 8:24 PM / 19 days ago

Argentina boosts security at airports, U.S. embassy over Iran tensions

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wait at Buenos Aires' airport as flights were cancelled during a 24-hour strike called by Argentina's state-owned airline Aerolineas Argentinas pilots and other personnel, days before the country is hosting a G20 meeting, at Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s government boosted security at its airports, borders and the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires as tensions simmer between the United States and Iran, the South American country’s defense minister told local media on Monday.

Argentina, which suffered two attacks in 1992 and 1994, decided to raise its alert level days after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, stoking global fears of retaliation attacks.

“Because of the history of two attacks we had, Argentina must be on alert for this type of conflict worldwide,” Defense Minister Agustin Rossi told local news site Infobae.

More than 100 people were killed in two attacks in Argentina in the 1990s. In 1992, the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was attacked with a car bomb, killing 29 people. Two years later, an explosives-laden truck blew up outside the AMIA Jewish community center, killing 85 people.

Argentine courts have blamed the attack on Iran. But no one has been brought to trial in either case. Iran denies playing a role in either attack.

In the United States, New York City, another frequent target of attacks, was bracing for Iranian retaliation with police on heightened alert but officials saw no imminent threats.

Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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