T he latest chapter of what sounds like a potboiler paperback thriller has played out in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An explosive new police report has blown the lid off what appears to be a cover-up of a cover-up of a cover-up. And the local Jewish community hopes that the wheels of justice are finally taking a favorable turn.

Prosecutor Natalio Alberto Nisman, who led the official investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85 people, was himself found dead in 2015, a day before he was to present findings to the Argentine Congress that fingered then-president Cristina Kirchner in a government cover-up of Iranian involvement in the attack.

A police investigation into Nisman’s death concluded at the time that he likely killed himself. Kirchner and her associates intimated that he despaired over his case having hit a dead end. The government declarations sparked massive street protests, which helped played a role in the subsequent 2015 election of political dark-horse candidate Mauricio Macri as president.

Now a new report issued by the Gendarmería Nacional — the Argentine border police — scrubs the government’s previous assertion and effectively removes all doubt that Nisman was in fact murdered.

“It was clear to us from the beginning that it was an homicide,” current AMIA president Agustín Zbar tells Mishpacha. “We are convinced that the [bombing] was perpetrated by Hezbollah and planned by the Iranian embassy, with the protection of Argentinean politicians. And Nisman’s death is undeniably connected with the case.”

Eduardo Taiano, the lead government prosecutor on the Nisman case, had ordered the new border police investigation. He assigned the task to the Gendarmería because it had not been involved in the earlier inquiry, which was called into question for such irregularities as mishandling of evidence and failure to control the crime scene.

Now with a fresh report in hand that clearly shows Nisman was beaten and drugged before a bullet entered his right temple, Taiano will likely recommend that the case be formally reclassified as a murder investigation. The recommendation will have to be approved by the judge overseeing the case, Julián Ercolini. Then the hunt can begin for Nisman’s killers.

The release of this information caps the latest episode in what has been a wild and tragic tale dating back 23 years. On July 18, 1994, Buenos Aires was rocked by a massive blast that killed 85 people and obliterated the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the country’s main Jewish community center. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group backed by Tehran, claimed responsibility, but suspicion also fell upon “state actors” — Iranian secret agents, possibly working undercover with Argentine officials.

The official government inquest languished for years, producing contradictory testimony, lack of proof, and a video of the judge then overseeing the case, Juan José Galeano, offering $400,000 to the main suspect, a mechanic named Carlos Telleldín, to implicate local policemen in the bombing.

In 2004, then-president Néstor Kirchner appointed Alberto Nisman —a Jew — to restart the AMIA case. Nisman zeroed in on Tehran’s responsibility, accusing former Iranian president Ali Rafsanjani and other top Iranian politicians of involvement. Nisman, with Kirchner’s backing, charged that Hezbollah and the Iranian government worked together in the bombing.

But Kirchner didn’t run for reelection in 2007, and installed his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, as his successor. She cruised to an election victory, and was reelected in 2011, after her husband died in 2010. She abrogated her husband’s anti-Iran stance and signed an agreement with Tehran to “improve the relationship and the cooperation between both [countries’] judicial systems.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 685)