The heirs of the victim of a 1996 terrorist attack in Israel who, in an earlier federal court proceeding, were recently awarded a judgment against Hamas for over $100 million for damages suffered as a result of the terrorist attack, recently filed a Petition seeking to satisfy the outstanding judgment from funds in a Hamas bank account in the New York branch of an Egyptian bank. The heirs brought the action in a New York federal court under section 201 of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), which provides that a person with a judgment against a terrorist party on a claim based upon an act of terrorism can get the judgment (to the extent it represents compensatory damages) satisfied out of the “blocked assets” of a terrorist. Click here to read the Petition.
Petitioners are the orphaned children, parents, siblings and administrator of the estate of Yaron Ungar. Mr. Ungar and his infant son were killed in a 1996 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel. Mr. Ungar’s heirs brought suit against Hamas in a federal district court in Rhode Island and in February 2004 were awarded judgment against Hamas in the amount of $116 million in damages suffered as a result of the 1996 terrorist group’s involvement in the murder of According to the Petition, the judgment remains entirely unsatisfied.
The funds that Petitioners are seeking were recently seized by Egyptian officials from Ayman Taha, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, who was traveling to Gaza after attending truce talks in Cairo. When Egyptian officials stopped Mr. Taha, they found that he was carrying suitcases containing approximately eleven million dollars in Hamas funds. The officials required Taha to deposit the funds in the National Bank of Egypt’s branch in the Sinai. Petitioners claim that the federal court has jurisdiction over the bank because of its branch in New York.
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