U.S. Court Rules Iran, Syria Liable for Attacks in Israel

Court says countries provided 'material support' to groups that committed attacks that hurt and killed Americans ■ Amount of damages not yet determined

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives a televised speech, May 2020.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives a televised speech, May 2020.Credit: AFP PHOTO / HO / KHAMENEI.IR

A U.S. court has ruled that Iran and Syria are liable for compensation for American citizens wounded and killed in a series of attacks by Palestinians in Israel, including the killing of a U.S. Army veteran.

Judge Randolph D. Moss in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Americans wounded and killed in seven attacks carried out by Palestinians were eligible for damages from Iran and Syria because they provided “material support” to militant groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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The court has not yet determined the amount of the damages. The order was posted online Sunday by the federal courts.

Syria, Iran and the Iranian Ministry of Information of Security, all named as defendants in the civil case, did not take part in the proceedings.

Collecting the damages will be a challenge. American courts have ordered the government of Iran to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to families of Americans killed by Palestinian militants before. But since Iran and the U.S. have no formal diplomatic relations, collecting the damages has remained elusive.

Taylor Force, a U.S. Army veteran, was studying in Israel in 2016 when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant in Tel Aviv. Congress later approved the Taylor Force Act, which withholds funding to the Palestinians that it said was used to reward the families of attackers.

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