Arguments Heard in Hamas Finance Trial

NEW YORK (AP) -

In a high-stakes legal offshoot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a U.S. jury was asked Thursday to decide whether executives at Jordan-based Arab Bank should be held responsible for a wave of suicide bombings in the early 2000s that left several Americans dead or wounded.

Attorney Shand Stephens, representing Arab Bank, told the jurors in closing arguments at a civil trial in federal court in Brooklyn that the attacks were dictated by a historical cycle of violence that had nothing to do with how the bank does business.

Plaintiff lawyer Tab Turner countered by accusing the bank of misleading the jury about its business ties to Hamas by withholding the account records of the group’s leaders and operatives.

The civil case is the first time a bank has faced a trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation.