A federal court in Washington ruled Monday that Iran and Syria were liable for damages to the four children of an Israeli couple who were killed by a Hamas terror cell in a West Bank shooting attack in 2015.
The family of Eitam and Naama Henkin filed a $360 million civil damages wrongful death lawsuit against Iran and Syria in federal court in Washington.
The Henkins were killed on October 1, 2015, when the Palestinian terrorists, who originally had intended to kidnap the couple, instead shot them at close range in their car. Eitam Henkin held both Israeli and American citizenship. Their children, then ages 9, 7, 4, and 10 months, witnessed the murder from the back seat of the car and were physically uninjured.
The court found that the two nations were liable “for the extreme mental anguish, physical injury, pain and suffering, loss of solatium, and loss of affection.”
According to the ruling, damages would be determined at a later date and the plaintiffs were permitted to recover the full amount of punitive damages permitted by law.
The lawsuit was filed against Syria, Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and three Iranian banks (Markazi, Melli, and Saderat) on the grounds that Hamas receives material support from Syria and Iran, including financing, training and weapons procurement.
Lawyers for the family said it was the first time Iranian banks had been found liable for the killing of a US citizen by a foreign terror organization.
“There is no doubt that this horrific, murderous act 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,” said Jonathan Missner, managing partner of Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner, representing the Henkin children.
“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,” Missner said.
The Palestinian terrorists were sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli military court in the West Bank in June 2016.