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US court awards $111 million to victims of Hezbollah rockets in 2006 war

Civil suits against terror groups are hard to enforce but lawyer for Israeli-American plaintiffs calls ruling an important legal victory against Iran-backed Lebanese terror group

Israeli rescue workers are seen at the site where a rocket fired from southern Lebanon hit the northern Israeli city of Haifa Aug. 13, 2006. (Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli rescue workers at the site where a rocket fired from southern Lebanon hit the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Aug. 13, 2006. (Flash90)

A US court has ordered the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to pay millions of dollars in damages to a group of joint Israeli-American citizens who sued, saying they were wounded by the group’s rockets during a war with Israel in 2006.

The case was brought under the US Anti-Terrorism Act and alleged that Hezbollah caused the plaintiffs physical and emotional injury and damaged their property.

The judge ordered Hezbollah to pay damages of $111 million to the plaintiffs.

Such civil lawsuits brought against terror groups are difficult to enforce but Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said it was an important legal victory against the Iran-backed group.

“Only by exacting a heavy price from those who engage in the business of terrorism can we prevent the suffering and loss of additional victims to their violence,” Darshan-Leitner said in a statement.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006. Israel pounded targets in Lebanon while Hezbollah launched thousands of rockets at cities and towns in Israel’s north. Israel still considers the heavily armed Shiite terror group a major threat.

In Friday’s ruling, Judge Steven L. Tiscione of federal court in Brooklyn, New York, said the plaintiffs had successfully established that Hezbollah’s actions were a violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act and held the group liable.

A Hezbollah spokesman declined to comment.

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