Iran and Syria ordered to pay family of teenage Tel Aviv bomb victim

By Jennifer Lipman, May 16, 2012
The scene of the April 2006 blast

The scene of the April 2006 blast

Syria and Iran have been ordered by a US court to pay £200 million to the family of a Florida teenager who was killed in a suicide bomb attack in a Tel Aviv.

Daniel Wultz was 16 when he was killed in the Islamic Jihad attack on a restaurant during the Pesach holiday. Eleven people died in the blast, and Daniel's father, Yekutiel, was severely wounded.

Now, six years after the deadly attack, an Israeli law firm that specialises in civil suits against terror groups claimed victory in a case against Iran and Syria.

Lawyers from the Shurat HaDin firm based their case on the fact that the governments of both countries gave Islamic Jihad material support and resources to launch the attack. Iran was accused of giving the movement financial support while Syria was blamed for giving its members a place to train.

The court was told that the teenager was conscious after the attack and would have been in excruciating pain before he succumbed to his injuries nearly a month after the attack. His father was said to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

US District Judge Royce Lamberth found that Islamic Jihad had acted "as an agent of the Iranian and Syrian defendants" and that "their financing, encouragement and instruction prompted [the bomb]."

Dismissing the case made by the defence, the judge said: "When a state chooses to uses terror as a policy tool - as Iran and Syria continue to do - that state forfeits its sovereign immunity and deserves unadorned condemnation.

"Barbaric acts like the suicide bombing have no place in civilised society and present a moral depravity that knows no bounds."

He added: "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,"

The ruling marks the first time that the firm, headed by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, won a courtroom victory against Syria.

Ms Darshan-Leitner said she believed it would be possible for the family to access the compensation through Syrian assets that have been frozen by the US government.

She said: "For the first time an American court is holding the government of Syria accountable for its decades-long support of terrorism."

Last updated: 10:11am, May 16 2012