N Korea fined for 1972 terror attack

By Jennifer Lipman, July 21, 2010
Kozo Okamoto

Kozo Okamoto

North Korea has been fined nearly £200m for supporting terrorists who attacked an Israeli airport in 1972, killing 26 people.

More than 80 people were injured in the Lod airport massacre in May 1972, when three Japanese terrorists threw hand grenades and shot indiscriminately at passengers in the arrivals area.

A far left group, the Japanese Red Army, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were responsible for the deadly shooting at what is now Ben Gurion International Airport.

But nearly four decades later a US federal court has found North Korea guilty of helping the terrorists coordinate it and giving them material support.

Two of the terrorists died during the attack but the third, Kozo Okamoto, was caught and sentenced to life in jail by an Israeli court.

In 1985 he was released as part of a prisoner exchange for Israeli soldiers captured during the Lebanon war.

Sixteen Puerto Rican Christian pilgrims were among the dead, and in 2008 some of the victim’s family members filed a lawsuit against North Korea.

Judge Francisco A. Besosa of the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico said: "North Korea's demonstrated and well-known policy to encourage, support and direct a campaign of murder against civilians amply justifies the imposition of punitive damages against it.”

Last updated: 1:19pm, July 21 2010