The government has confirmed that it has strengthened controls at Argentina’s border crossing with Paraguay, after receiving an anonymous tip-off about explosive material entering the country ahead of a potential terror attack on members of the Jewish community.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Security Ministry said that it was investigating a complaint delivered directly to Argentina’s Embassy in the United Kingdom, which was informed about the alleged entry of “ammonium nitrate, a component used to manufacture explosives, by a person from the Republic of Paraguay.”
The anonymous tipster alleged the material was to be used “for a bomb in Argentina with a Jewish objective” and warned the explosive material was to be moved from the Paraguayan city of Encarnación across the border to Posadas, Misiones Province.
Authorities said they have launched “a series of preventative and investigative measures” to identify those allegedly involved in the plot and had deployed federal forces to “tighten controls” and watch for the “potential attempted entry of the person in question." The Federal Police's (PFA) Anti-Terrorism Unit is leading the operation.
Members of the local Jewish community said they were on high alert. The president of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA), Jorge Knoblovits, said that leaders had “already been informed and had knowledge" of the complaint and its through diplomatic channels.
"We watch over the safety of the Jewish community," Knoblovits told the Jewish News Agency in comments reported Saturday night.
Knoblovits said that Security Ministry Sabina Frederic had already offered her full support and indicated the government’s "willingness to increase protection” at Jewish community buildings and locations.
Argentina’s Jewish community suffered two devastating attacks on local soil in the 1990s. In 1994, a bombing attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires City left 85 dead and 300 injured. That took place just two years after an earlier attack on the Israeli Embassy, also in the capital, which left 29 dead and 200 injured. The perpetrators of both attacks are yet to be brought to justice.
Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America, with some 300,000 members.