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Arab Bank acquitted of terror charges

A US court acquitted on Tuesday the Arab Bank of charges of aiding and abetting Hamas gunfire from Gaza into an occupied area where an Israeli-American was injured in 2008.

District Judge Jack B Weinstein in Brooklyn, New York, ruled that the plaintiff did not show enough evidence that Jordan's largest bank played a role in the 2008 gunfire to send the case to trial.

The then aide of the Israeli minister of public security, Mati Gill, sued the bank under the US Anti-Terrorism Act over alleged support for Hamas.

Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the US and some Western governments. According to the US Anti-Terrorism Act, any financial support for any terror organisation is banned. "Gill failed to show the bank directly caused the attack," the judge said.

The case had been set for trial on November 19th. In September, the judge threw out one claim in the lawsuit that alleged the bank had aided and abetted the attack.

The "plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of evidence that the bank recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally, and proximately caused plaintiff's injuries, either by the bank's own actions or in a conspiracy with Hamas or other terrorist organizations," Weinstein wrote in an order published by the media. "It cannot do so."

"This is the first Arab Bank case where the court has evaluated the entire record, and it dismissed the case concluding that the bank was not responsible for the plaintiff's injuries," a spokesman for the Amman, Jordan-based bank, Bob Chlopak, said in an e-mailed statement.

In October 2010, the Arab Bank closed its three branches in the Gaza Strip purportedly under Israeli and international pressure as it was the only bank which was functioning according to international standards. Israelis have accused it of playing a role in transferring money to the besieged Gaza government through its hundreds of branches around the world.

Middle EastNews
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