BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — A Jewish sports club in Argentina was the victim of a threat that included what is reported to be the first manifestation of Islamic State in the country.
The threatening note was attached to a plastic bottle filled with cement that was thrown through a window of the Maccabi Jewish community center and sports club in the Santa Fe province of Argentina.
The note, which read “This is a warning, the next one will explode,” and “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, also included the logo of the Islamic State.
The representative of the Argentinean Jewish political umbrella DAIA in the Santa Fe province, Horacio Roitman, denounced the attack in interviews with local and national media. He met with police and security authorities to strengthen surveillance of the institution and to put in place preventive measures.
Maccabi said on social media that the activities of the center will continue as usual. The community center is celebrating this month its 60th year, and the 30th year of its headquarters in Santa Fe City, the capital of Santa Fe province.
“This is the first time the ISIS flag has been used in an attack in Argentina. The influence of ISIS is growing in Latin America and this could be a consequence of the spread of ISIS hate messages,” Ariel Gelblum, a representative of the Wiesenthal Center in Latin America, told JTA.
The National Institute Against Discrimination expressed “deep worry” about the attack “written in Spanish and in Arabic with a motto used by fundamentalist groups,” according to a statement issue by its Santa Fe office.
The threat comes in a country that has seen deadly bombings in Buenos Aires of the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish center in 1994. Iran, through the Hezbollah terrorist group, has been accused of plotting those attacks, though no one has been brought to justice. The late special prosecutor Alberto Nisman charged that the Argentine government was involved in covering up Iran’s role in the AMIA bombing. He was found shot to death in January 2015 in his Buenos Aires apartment; the official cause of death has yet to be determined.
In March, the murder of a Jewish businessman in Uruguay marked the arrival of Islamist terrorism from the Middle East to South America.