After 11 Years, Trial Starts For Israel Attack Victims

NEW YORK (AP) -

Eleven years after filing a $1 billion lawsuit, terrorism victims hope to prove that the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were behind attacks in Israel between January 2001 and February 2004.

A lawyer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority has told a New York jury that the groups are not to blame for terror attacks in Israel.

Attorney Mark Rochon said in his opening statement Tuesday that seven attacks from 2001 to 2004 were carried out by suicide bombers and terrorists “acting on their own angry, crazy reasons.”

Earlier, a lawyer for plaintiffs said evidence will show that killing civilians was standard operating procedure for the Palestinian groups.

The lawsuit brought under the Antiterrorism Act of 1991 is being heard by an anonymous jury.

“The injuries remain very fresh for most of these people,” plaintiffs’ attorney Phil Horton said. “It is often hard to work with them because the pain is still so great. There have been a lot of tears in conference rooms.”

Horton said some victims are seeking a sense of closure and many were interested in accountability. Numerous victims were scheduled to testify.