An Israeli soldier walks by a wall in Tel Aviv with photos of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 30, 2024.

An Israeli soldier walks by a wall in Tel Aviv with photos of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 30, 2024. (Amir Levy, Getty Images/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — More than 60 U.S. citizens and their family members who were killed, injured or taken hostage in the Hamas attack on Israel sued Iran, demanding upwards of $1 billion from the Islamic Republic for aiding the terrorist organization.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday night in federal court in Washington D.C. includes vivid details and photographs of the violence that unfolded on Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked southern Israel from the Gaza strip, igniting a war in the Middle East.

The 131-page complaint filed by Quinn Emanuel Urqhart & Sullivan is one of the first in what is expected to be a wave of litigation responding to the Hamas attack. A separate case brought by Judith Raanan, who was released by Hamas after two weeks in captivity, and the relatives of two murdered men, Itay Glisko and Daniel Levi Ludmir, was also filed Wednesday.

In that case, the plaintiffs are suing Binance for allowing Hamas to trade on the crypto exchange, along with Iran and Syria for allegedly providing financial support and weaponry to the group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the E.U.

The Washington suit details Iran’s history backing Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including providing tens of millions of dollars each year along with rockets and weapons to them. In the lead-up to Oct. 7, this morphed into regular meetings between Iranian military forces, Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah, in which Iran gave the “green light” to attack Israel, according to the complaint.

“Plaintiffs bring this suit for compensation from Iran for the horrific injuries — death, dismemberment, burning, hostage-taking, and other forms of torture and physical trauma — inflicted upon them by the October 7 attack,” according to the complaint.

Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Amir Saeid Iravani didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Lawyers for the families detailed the harrowing experiences of their clients, who said terrorists stormed and torched their homes, separated them from their families and murdered their relatives at the Re’im music festival.

The relatives of Gad Haggai, an Israeli-American citizen who died in the attack, and his wife, Judy Weinstein Haggai, are among the plaintiffs. The complaint includes a screenshot of a text message Judy sent to her family on the morning of Oct. 7 that read “we’re outside. Face down in the field.”

The families are suing Iran for providing material support for terrorism, negligence and aiding and abetting.

Lawsuits targeting terrorist organizations and the nation-state sponsors behind them can drag on for years, and judgments have proved near impossible to enforce. It took 14 years for more than 1,000 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack to secure a judgment against Iran, which was largely viewed as symbolic as the country never responded to the claims in court.

Another 9/11 suit against Saudi Arabia has also ground on for years, with the kingdom arguing that it is immune from litigation over the attack.

But the families of Hamas victims are willing to try.

“Plaintiffs recognize that prosecuting this litigation to completion may be complex and take time, but they are prepared to do whatever is required to deliver justice for the atrocities Iran directed, armed, and paid for,” their lawyers wrote.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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