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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Iran to Pay $400M to Suicide Bomb Victims

By Associated Press

September 15, 2003, 4:40 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has ruled that the Iranian government must pay more than $400 million in damages to eight Americans injured in a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina said the attack at a crowded pedestrian mall was carried out by members of the radical Islamic group Hamas. Urbina said evidence shows the organization receives training, money and operational support from Iran.

Powerful explosive devices loaded with nails, screws, pieces of glass and chemical poisons killed five people and wounded nearly 200 in the Sept. 4, 1997, attack.

The lawsuit is among dozens filed against Iran under a 1996 U.S. law that allows Americans to sue nations that sponsor terrorism for damages suffered in terrorist acts. The Iranian government has not responded formally to any of the lawsuits.

In the Jerusalem bombing decision, issued Wednesday, Urbina awarded nearly $110 million in compensatory damages, which compensates for actual harm, to the eight Americans directly injured in the attack and $13.5 million in compensatory damages for emotional suffering to four family members of the victims. He also awarded $300 million in punitive damages to be shared among victims.

Victims of foreign terrorism who win judgments against Iran are allowed to collect a portion of their compensatory damages from the U.S. government. Frozen Iranian assets in the United States serve as collateral for the payments.

A paramedic tends one of the injured from the 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street.
A US court has ruled that Iran must pay more than 420 million dollars to 12 US victims of the attack
carried out by the Iran-supported Palestinian group Hamas(AFP/File)