U.S. Court: Terror victims can sue countries for inspiring lone wolf attacks

The judgment allows Israeli and American families of terror victims to sue countries that inspire lone wolf terrorist attacks.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A U.S. federal court has ruled for the first time that families of victims of terrorism will be able to claim compensation from countries supporting terrorist organizations, such as Iran or Syria, even if the attack was done by a single terrorist, Kan Radio reported Tuesday.

The decision comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by seven families of both American and Israeli citizens who were victims of terrorism. The ruling says that it’s possible to prove that the lone terrorist was inspired by a terror group’s ideology and therefore countries that fund terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad can be sued for damages and compensation.

The court will hold further discussions on what the level of compensation will be.

“This is a precedent and a significant victory for the victims of terror,” said Jerusalem attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, who heads Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center.

Among the victims Darshan-Leitner represented was Jerusalem resident and American-Israeli dual citizen Richard Lakin, who along with two others was murdered in a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas members in 2015.

The court found that behind every terrorist is a terrorist organization, so it is not an uncontrollable wave of attacks in which anyone can take a knife and stab at random Jews, but it is a deliberate and scheduled campaign by the Hamas organization,” Darshan-Leitner said, adding that had the legal war against terrorist organizations started earlier, it might have reduced the number of terror attacks.

“Now it is clear to everyone that ‘lone wolf’ as it is called in the lawsuit is not really lone, but it is a gang of wolves behind an extensive terrorist infrastructure, so the war must be at its roots,” she said.

“We applaud the court ruling that unequivocally held that the terrorist organizations and their supporting countries would eventually pay the price.”