Judge awards $300M in each of two suicide bombings

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge has awarded $300 million in punitive damages in each of two suicide bombings blamed on Iran and Iranian-backed Islamic groups.

One of last Thursday's rulings came on behalf of the family of Alan Beer, a U.S. citizen killed in Jerusalem in 2003 in the bombing of a bus by the Iran-backed organization Hamas.

The other award was made to American citizen Seth Haim, his father and his brother. They were injured in the 1995 bombing of a bus in the Gaza Strip by the Iranian-supported Shaqaqi Faction of the Palestine Islamic Jihad.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said he was making the awards, which will be difficult, perhaps impossible, for the families to collect, in the interest of deterring future terrorist attacks.

In both cases, survivors sued Iran. Therefore, to collect Lamberth's award, their lawyers must find Iranian assets in a country with judges willing to order those assets seized on their behalf based on Lamberth's rulings.

Published: Mon, May 23, 2011