Dozens of victims and families of US citizens killed or captured in the devastating Hamas-led October 7 massacre in Israel filed a US lawsuit Wednesday blaming Iran for the attack and seeking compensation.
The 67 plaintiffs claimed that the attack, which killed 1,200 people and saw another 253 taken hostage, most of them civilians, was “masterminded and funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” NBC News reported.
“Iran bears direct responsibility for the October 7 Attacks,” says the lawsuit filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia. “Indeed, that point is essentially undisputed. The Iranian regime has openly flaunted its motive for aiding the horrors.”
According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs are seeking $1 billion in damages.
On October 7, Hamas-led terrorists burst through the border from the Gaza Strip and rampaged murderously through southern areas of Israel, overrunning communities and slaughtering those they found. Entire families were murdered, women gang raped, victims tortured and mutilated. At an outdoor music festival, 360 people were killed. The terrorists also abducted 253 who were taken as hostages to Gaza, about half of whom remain in captivity. Some hostages were released during a November truce.
At least 32 US citizens were killed in the attack.
According to NBC, among the plaintiffs are those who were kidnapped or injured as well as families of those who were murdered.
Natalia Ben Zvi, whose son Sagiv was murdered at the Nova music festival, told the Ynet outlet she was seeking justice for my son, “a beautiful and kind young man.”
“As far as I am concerned, Iran is the head of the snake and no less responsible than Hamas,” Ben Zvi said.
The lawsuit asserts that from April to June 2023, Iranian leaders met with chiefs of Hamas and the smaller, allied Gaza terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as other terror groups in Syria and Iran, “to encourage further acts of terrorism against Israel.”
By August, the lawsuit claims, commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force were convening twice a week in Beirut with “Hamas, PIJ, Hezbollah, and other Iranian-backed terror groups.” It cites the Wall Street Journal and other news reports about the meetings. The Quds Force is the IRGC unit tasked with operations outside of Iran’s borders. Among those who attended meetings was Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the lawsuit claims.
On October 2, Iran gave the “green light for Hamas, PIJ, and the other Iran-backed groups to launch the pre-planned attack against Israel, using Iranian intelligence, training, and military supplies,” it claims.
“Iran’s provision of funds, weapons, munitions, training, and intelligence to Hamas and PIJ provided those terror groups with material support and resources used to murder, torture, take hostage, and otherwise injure Plaintiffs, along with Israeli men, women, elderly, teenagers, children, toddlers, infants, and others,” it says.
The lawsuit described atrocities committed by the attackers against their victims, among them US citizen Yonatan Siman-Tov, his wife, Tamar, and their three children who were asphyxiated to death as Hamas terrorists set fire to their home in the Nir Oz kibbutz.
The lawsuit also includes graphic images of victims from the attacks.
The plaintiffs also accuse Iran, the “sworn enemy of Israel and the United States,” of using the Hamas attack to derail efforts at normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“As potential Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia progressed, Iran prepared to reset the regional balance, including by attempting to unite Arab states around the Palestinian cause,” they argue.
The lawsuit conceded that suing nation-states is complicated.
“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,” it said.
Attorney Alex Spiro of law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, and Sullivan LLP, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, told NBC News, “We expect to prove our case by several means, including affidavits from our clients as well as reports from experts on Iran and terror financing.”
Iran’s mission to the US did not respond to media requests for comment.
Also Wednesday, released hostage Judith Raanan, and the relatives of two murdered victims, Itay Glisko and Daniel Levi Ludmir, filed a separate compensation lawsuit in New York. They are suing crypto exchange Binance for allowing Hamas to trade on its platform, as well as Iran and Syria for allegedly providing financial support and weaponry to Hamas, Bloomberg reported.
The US State Department report “Country Reports on Terrorism 2021” states that “Hamas has received funding, weapons, and training from Iran and raises funds in Persian Gulf countries.”