American Passengers to Sue Hamas for Rockets on Ben-Gurion Airport

Ruta Kupfer
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A deserted Ben-Gurion Airport on the day of the rocket attack last year.Credit: Avishag Sh'ar-Yashuv
Ruta Kupfer

An Israeli NGO dedicated to fighting terror announced on Tuesday that it would file a complaint against Hamas with the United States Department of Justice for firing rockets against Ben-Gurion Airport during last summer's war in Gaza.

The war crimes complaint will be filed by the Israel Law Center (known as Shurat HaDin) on behalf of 26 American citizens who were at the airport at the time the rockets were fired.

The lawsuit will be filed against several Hamas leaders, including Khaled Meshaal, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamdan Awad, Raed Sa'ad and Salah Omar Daloul.

"Hamas' attack on Ben-Gurion International Airport was a threat on the lives of American citizens that were at the airport at the time, and therefore the U.S. Attorney General has authority to put on trial those who threatened American citizens in this way," Shurat HaDin head Nirsana Darshan-Leitner told the Arutz Sheva website.

Any person using any materials, illegally and intentionally, to wage a violent attack against an international airport, could be sentenced to 20 years in prison by U.S. law if American citizens were found to be present.

Hamas claimed responsibility for firing several rockets at the airport on July 23 last year. The airport itself wasn't hit but a building was damaged in the nearby town of Yehud.

According to Shurat HaDin, the American plaintiffs were among the passengers in the terminal who had to run for shelter when the "code red" alerts sounded.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority and the European aviation authority suspended all flights to and from the airport following the rocket fire. The bans were lifted shortly after.

In February, a New York court fined the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority $218.5 million in damages for terror attacks during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s in which American citizens in Israel were killed or wounded.

That lawsuit was also brought by Shurat HaDin.

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