A Landmark Verdict Finds Bank Responsible for Supporting Terrorist Attacks

The verdict in a five-week federal trial, which followed 10 years of legal wrangling, has found the Arab Bank liable for supporting Hamas attacks that killed or injured several Americans. The outcome could have massive reverberations.

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In what has the potential to be one of the most important verdicts in the era of modern terrorism, a federal jury has found the Arab Bank of Jordan liable for "knowingly supporting terrorism efforts" relating to 24 attacks by the terrorist group Hamas that took place during the Second Intifada.

The suit was filed under the American Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows for Americans or their families to sue if they are harmed in acts of terrorism abroad. In the case of the roughly 300 plaintiffs, they sought damages from the Arab Bank, in part, for hosting accounts for members of Hamas.

Here's how Armin Rosen at Business Insider summed up the meaning of the case:

The decision sets a significant precedent. The US Treasury Department emerged as a perhaps-surprising contributor to the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation in the 13 years since the September 11th attacks, and learned how to hone its sanctions-designation authorities in a way that's managed to convince much of the world's formal financial sector to reassess its business practices, for fear of US legal exposure.

In other words, this decision (the first of its kind) could pave the way for other victims of international terrorism to pursue their cases in civil court. Whether the verdict sticks or not has yet to be determined.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.