WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on a senior Hezbollah operative it said coordinated the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died..
In a statement, the State Department also offered a $7 million reward for information on the whereabouts of Salman Raouf Salman, also known as Samuel Salman El Reda, who it said helped plan and carry out the attack in Argentina.
A U.S. administration officials said they believed Salman was in the Middle East.
The announcement follows the arrival of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Buenos Aires for a regional security conference. During his visit, Pompeo will highlight the risks posed by Hezbollah, U.S. officials said. The Iran-backed, heavily armed Shi’ite group is part of Lebanon’s coalition government.
Argentinian authorities on Thursday designated Hezbollah, which it blames for the attack on the Jewish community center and an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 that killed 29 people.
“We are targeting Salman Raouf Salman, who coordinated a devastating attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina against the largest Jewish center in South America 25 years ago and has directed terrorist operations in the Western Hemisphere for Hezbollah ever since,” said Sigal Mandelker, the U.S. Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The sanctions will freeze any assets belonging to Salman in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens from dealing with him.
Reporting by Mohammad Zargham, Lesley Wroughton and Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis