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Sunday, February 14, 2010

North Korea sued in Puerto Rico for terror attack in Israel

In the summer of 1972, my parents sent me to Israel for the summer on a teenagers' tour. In retrospect, I'm kind of amazed that they did. I flew here on the same Sabena flight that had been hijacked seven weeks earlier and sat on the tarmac at what was then called Lod Airport for two days until it was stormed by a group of commandos from Sayeret Matkal - Israel's most elite army unit - commanded by Ehud Barak and including Binyamin Netanyahu among its participants. And three weeks after that, 26 people were killed and 72 were wounded when a group of Japanese Red Army terrorists picked up their luggage from baggage claim, took out machine guns and started firing (yes, that's how bad security was in the early '70's). The picture at the top of this post is from the aftermath of that massacre.

North Korea has taken credit for sponsoring the Red Army, and now they are going to face something that has not happened to them before, but has happened to Iran and the 'Palestinian' terror organizations: A date in an American courtroom.
The lawsuit against North Korea stems from claims it sponsored the PFLP and the Japanese Red Army, providing material support to both organizations and assistance in planning the attack.

The three terrorists arrived on an Air France flight from Paris and drew automatic guns and hand grenades, firing fired randomly at anybody in sight, after their luggage came through baggage claims.

"This attack was for Israelis what the September 11th attacks were for Americans," Ze'ev Sarig, the former manager of Lod Airport, explained in his testimony before a judge in Puerto Rico. "The attack changed how we viewed security at the airport and in Israeli civil aviation."

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Israeli rights group Shurat HaDin, filed the $30 million lawsuit at a U.S. federal court in Puerto Rico on behalf of 12 of the victims' families.

Preliminary hearings to examine evidence began in Puerto Rico on December 2, 2009. Israeli experts - including Sarig and various experts on terrorism - were flown in to testify at the hearings.

The claims were then translated and transferred to North Korean authorities, which, according to Darshan-Leitner, have yet to respond to the charges.

"We are currently waiting for the ruling of the federal judge in Puerto Rico," she said, adding that it might be possible to seize North Korean funds held at U.S. banks if the verdict is in the claimants' favor.
The lawsuit is in Puerto Rico because most of the victims were Christian pilgrims from there. I wonder whether the US State Department will be as adverse to collecting from North Korea as it is about collecting from Iran.


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