A court in the United States has ruled this week that Iran and Syria were responsible for a shooting in Palestine’s West Bank which killed an Israeli settler couple almost six years ago, making them liable for damages.
The attack took place in the occupied West Bank on 1 October 2015, when Palestinian gunmen shot at and killed Eitam and Naama Henkin – citizens of both Israel and the US – in their car while the family was travelling between illegal Jewish-only settlements. According to reports, the attack was initially meant to be a kidnapping but turned into a shooting when that attempt failed.
Despite the attackers being sentenced to life imprisonment the following year, the Henkin family filed a $360 million lawsuit for civil damages and wrongful death against the states of Iran and Syria in a federal court in the US capital Washington.
Due to the attackers reportedly being from the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which Iran and Syria are said to have provided funding, arms and support for, they are deemed responsible for the children’s “extreme mental anguish, physical injury, pain and suffering, loss of solatium, and loss of affection.”
At the time of the attack, the four children were aged 9, 7, 4, and 10 months old, and witnessed the attack from the backseat of the car.
The lawsuit was specifically filed against Syria, Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Three Iranian banks – Markazi, Melli, and Saderat – were included in the lawsuit.
The ruling ordered that the plaintiffs are permitted to recover the full amount of punitive damages and that those damages would be determined at a later date.
Representing the Henkin children was Jonathan Missner, the managing partner of the law firm Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner, who said that there is no doubt the attack “was sponsored by Syria, Iran, and Iranian state-sponsored organizations, and the court’s ruling sends a loud and clear message that financiers of terrorism will be held responsible for their despicable actions.”
Missner added that this lawsuit is the first instance in which Iranian banks have been accused of the killing of American citizens. “The Iranian banks, including Iran’s central bank, Markazi, have never before been held accountable so this is a huge step forward when it comes to holding foreign actors to account for the murder of Americans.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)