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Families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia

March 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm

The World Trade Towers in New York after United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into it on September 11 2011 [TheMachineStops/Flickr]

Hundreds of relatives of individuals killed in the September 11 2001, attacks have sued Saudi Arabia in US court, seeking to take advantage of a law passed by Congress last year that allows victims of such attacks on US soil to sue state sponsors.

The lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan is the latest effort to hold Saudi Arabia liable for the Al-Qaeda attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

After Congress overwhelmingly passed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” permitting such lawsuits to proceed seven have been filed in New York against Saudi Arabia.

Fifteen of the 19 airplane hijackers who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia. A commission set up by the US government to investigate found no evidence that the Saudi government directly funded Al-Qaeda but left open the possibility that individual officials did so.

The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks. A lawyer for Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

Yesterday’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was brought by families of around 800 victims as well as approximately 1,500 individuals who suffered injuries after responding to the site of the attacks in New York.

Among other allegations, the complaint accuses Saudi officials of being aware that money was redirected from Saudi charities to Al-Qaeda to fund their attacks.