The Justice Department unsealed terrorist charges Wednesday against a notorious Hezbollah leader linked to a 1994 attack on Jews in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead.
The DOJ charges allege that Samuel Salman El Reda, a 58-year-old dual Colombian-Lebanese citizen, conspired to provide and provided material support to Hezbollah. El Reda remains at large and is believed to be in Lebanon, the DOJ says.
“Nearly three decades ago, long-time Hezbollah terrorist operative Samuel Salman El Reda allegedly helped plan and execute the heinous attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that murdered 85 innocent people and injured countless others,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said in a statement. “This indictment serves as a message to those who engage in acts of terror: that the Justice Department’s memory is long, and we will not relent in our efforts to bring them to justice.”
“While it’s been nearly 30 years since this horrific terrorist attack, the FBI and our partners throughout the U.S. government are committed to delivering justice for the victims’ families,” added Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “Our reach and our memory are long, as this investigation shows. The charges unsealed today are a result of the hard work and determination of the men and women of the FBI and Justice Department, and the assistance of our international partners in law enforcement.”
The indictment includes allegations that El Reda was involved with Hezbollah as early as 1993 and as recently as 2015.
Hezbollah is an Iran-backed terrorist group operating in Lebanon. It has played a major role in Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, launching rockets and missiles over Israel’s northern border.
The threat of Hezbollah has divided Israel’s attention between Gaza in the south and the shared border with Lebanon to the north.
Hezbollah’s activity appears to be part of a larger Iranian strategy aimed at escalating Israel’s war in Gaza. Similar Iran-backed groups have launched nearly 100 attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since mid-October.
The Houthi rebels in Yemen, also backed by Iran, have wreaked havoc on international trade through the Red Sea as well. The U.S. Navy has been forced to shoot down multiple Houthi missiles and drones aimed at merchant vessels.
The U.S. announced a coalition of navies aimed at countering the Houthi threat on Tuesday.