Iran, Syria ordered to pay terror victim´s family (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 05/16/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Six years after 16-year-old American Daniel Wultz died of wounds he
sustained in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing, a US district court judge
awarded his family $332 million in damages from Iran and Syria.
The court found that Iran and Syria were responsible for providing
material support for the April 17, 2006, attack, in which 11 people
were murdered and over 60 others wounded when an Islamic Jihad
suicide bomber detonated a bomb laced with nails and other
projectiles in a crowded south Tel Aviv fast food restaurant.
In his ruling, Chief Justice Royce C. Lamberth said the bombing had
been a “barbaric act” that had “no place in civilized society and
represents a moral depravity that knows no bounds.”
Daniel’s father Yekutiel “Tuly” Wultz, who was seriously wounded in
the attack; his mother, Sheryl; and his siblings Amanda and Abraham
brought the civil lawsuit in the US District Court for the District
of Columbia, under powerful US anti-terrorism laws that permit
American civilians to sue sovereign states who sponsor acts of terror.
Via their lawyers – New York attorney Robert Tolchin and Tel Aviv
attorney Nitsana Darshan- Leitner – the Wultz family alleged that the
Syrian and Iranian governments, both of which the US has designated
as state sponsors of terrorism, provided Islamic Jihad with the
material support and resources it needed to carry out the deadly
The court learned that Daniel had been conscious immediately after
the bombing and up until his death, and had suffered extreme physical
and emotional pain both because he knew the horrific extent of his
injuries and because he was aware he would die from them.
The 16-year-old suffered wounds including severe bleeding from
multiple shrapnel wounds, a perforated bowel and multiple infections,
In their fight to save his life, surgeons at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov
Hospital removed several of Daniel’s organs, and amputated two
fingers and part of his right leg, but the teenager succumbed to his
injuries and died on May 14, 2006.
His father, who was sitting with Daniel at the time of the bombing,
endured extensive physical injuries as well as severe psychological
damage. He still suffers pain and post-traumatic stress disorder,
including terrifying nightmares and daily flashbacks of the attack.
The other members of the Wultz family, including Daniel’s mother,
suffered serious psychological and emotional damage as a result of
In addition to Iran and Syria, the Wultz family’s lawsuit named as
defendants the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, the
Syrian Ministry of Defense, Syrian Military Intelligence and the
Syrian Air Force Intelligence Directorate.
In finding all of the plaintiffs responsible for providing the
material support that led to the suicide bombing, Lamberth said the
evidence established that Islamic Jihad “acted generally as an agent
of the Iranian and Syrian defendants” and that “their financing,
encouragement and instruction prompted [the attack].”
“When a state chooses to use terror as a policy tool – as Iran and
Syria continue to do – that state forfeits its sovereign immunity and
deserves unadorned condemnation,” he said in his ruling.
The ruling cites testimony from Dr. Patrick Clawson, an expert on
Iranian terror funding, who said Iran provided annual financial
support for terror of around $300 million to $500m.
According to Clawson, in 2008 Iran provided Hezbollah with around
$200m. in direct cash assistance, as well as “many tens of millions
of dollars” of sophisticated weaponry, including rockets, since 2006.
Evidence presented to the court in a two-day hearing in February
showed that at the time of the 2006 bombing, Islamic Jihad was
headquartered in Damascus with the Syrian regime’s approval and
consent, and that the Syrian government would escort potential
terrorists and suicide bombers to training camps on Syrian territory.
Expert witnesses who testified in the trial said Islamic Jihad
received “substantial logistical, financial and technical support
from both the Iranian and Syrian defendants.”
An offshoot of Hamas, Islamic Jihad was created in 1980. Its founder,
Fathi Shiqaqi, had been inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran a
Until Israel assassinated him in 1995, Shiqaqi – the first
Palestinian terrorist to publish a pamphlet legitimizing suicide
bombings in jihad – received funds from the Syrian intelligence
services, and his successor Ramadan Shallah continues to receive
funding from Iran and Syria, evidence presented to the court shows.
At the time of the 2006 terror attack, Iranian funding passed to
Islamic Jihad via Syria, but after Hamas took over Gaza, Iran has
been able to fund Islamic Jihad and Hamas directly, the court found.
Moreover, Iran and Syria encouraged Islamic Jihad and other
Palestinian terror groups to use suicide bombers as a “weapon” during
the second intifada, the court found, noting that Islamic Jihad was
responsible for around a quarter of all suicide bombings in Israel
during this time.
Islamic Jihad suicide bombers also received training from Hezbollah,
which is directly funded by Iran.
“The evidence shows that [Iran and Syria] completely lacked any
semblance of remorse for this deadly attack – and in fact, encouraged
and supported this and similar attacks,” Lamberth said.
In closing, the judge praised the Wultz family’s courage, saying
they “stood in stark contrast to the Iranian and Syrian thugs.”
The family members had “resolved to fight injustice with whatever
tools were at their disposal, and their patient determination over
the past six years is a credit to both themselves and the memory of
their beloved Daniel,” Lamberth said.
The Wultz vs. Iran verdict is the latest in a series of US courtroom
victories by victims of terror against Iran that have highlighted the
extent to which the Islamic Republic funds Palestinian terror in
Israel and neighboring territories.
In March, Lamberth awarded two victims of the 1983 US Marine barracks
bombing in Beirut $44.6m. in damages from Iran.
In 2007, a US federal judge ruled in a separate lawsuit, Peterson vs.
Iran, that Iran must pay $2.65 billion to the families of servicemen
killed in the Beirut attack.
While plaintiffs in these cases have actively sought Iranian assets
that could be seized to pay the court-awarded damages, they have so
far been unsuccessful.
That may be about to change, as the US Senate may vote before the end
of this month on a bill that would subject Iranian assets to US court
jurisdiction, thereby releasing them to pay against judgements of
lawsuits brought against the Islamic Republic. If the bill passes,
the plaintiffs may be able to reach nearly $2b. in Iranian debt-
securities, which currently sit frozen in a Citibank account in New
Luxembourg-based clearing house and bank Clearstream is allegedly
holding the money for Iran, a matter that came to light last November
after the Peterson plaintiffs sued Clearstream over the assets.
Clearstream denies holding funds for Iran, while Citibank is fighting
for the courts to unfreeze the $2b. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY