The families of terror victims in a 1997 triple suicide bombing in Yerushalayim could be the first to collect damages from Iran, after a U.S. appeals court found in their favor in the amount of $9.4 million on Friday.
The Ninth Circuit Appellate Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by Shurat Hadin’s Nitsana Darshan-Leitner in Israel and David Strachman of Rhode Island as U.S. counsel.
Friday’s ruling dates back to September 4, 1997, when three Hamas terrorists detonated explosives strapped to their bodies in the crowded Ben Yehuda Street promenade in mid-afternoon, killing five Israelis and wounding scores of others. Three of those killed were 14-year-old girls.
At the same time, however, another case has been under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in January heard the separate Peterson case, in which a larger group of American victims of Iranian-linked terror are suing for $2 billion in Iranian funds.
Iran said it will appeal Friday’s judgment to the Supreme Court, which puts the Peterson case ahead for collection of the damages, unless the Supreme Court rejects Iran’s right to appeal Friday’s ruling, which would enable the petitioners in that case to collect first.
Darshan-Leitner called it an “historic court ruling against Iran. While governments around the world, including the Obama administration, are falling over themselves trying to throw money at the outlaw regime in Tehran, these families of the victims are still fighting to bankrupt this state sponsor of terrorism.”
“The Islamic Republic needs to understand that these court judgments have not been canceled and that the terror victims will continue to pursue them in legal forums all over the world. They don’t forgive and they aren’t going to forget either,” she said.