The plaintiffs, who include family members of victims of terrorist bombings and rocket attacks carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in 2006 and 2007, are claiming that the Bank of China facilitated the attacks by providing wire transfer services to both terror groups.

The group lawsuit, known as the “Almaliakh action” after Emil Almaliakh, an Eilat resident killed in a suicide bombing in 2007, has been filed with the assistance of Shurat Hadin, the Israel Law Center and New York attorney Robert Tolchin.

Attorney and Shurat Hadin head Nitsana Darshan-Leitner previously told The Jerusalem Post that the case was setting a “huge precedent” for Israeli victims of terror since it would permit non-US citizens to also sue in the US in terror cases.

The US has designated both Islamic Jihad and Hamas as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” since 1997 and as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” since 2001. As such, both groups are subject to strict economic sanctions intended to prevent them from conducting banking activities which help them finance their attacks.

Those named in the lawsuit claim that the Bank of China aided and abetted Hamas and Islamic Jihad since 2003 by providing wire transfer services to operatives of the two groups via a bank account in China.

They allege that Hamas operatives received money to the account from Hamas’s headquarters in Syria and then transferred it to Gaza.

Between that date and January 2007, the Bank of China carried out dozens of wire transfers for the two terror organizations, totaling several million dollars.

Most of the transfers, which were initiated by the two organizations’ leaderships including in Iran and Syria, were made to a single account in Guangzhou, China, belonging to Said al- Shurafa, whom the plaintiffs claim is a senior operative and agent of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

According to information provided by the plaintiffs, Shurafa then transferred the funds from his account to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas coffers in the West Bank and Gaza “for the purpose of planning, preparing for and executing terrorist attacks.”

The plaintiffs additionally claim that when officials of the counterterrorism division of the Prime Minister’s Office warned the Bank of China in April 2005 that the funds were being used to finance terror attacks, and asked that they prevent further transfers, the Bank of China ignored the request.

“The Bank of China responded that Hamas is not considered a terrorist organization in China,” added Darshan- Leitner.

The plaintiffs also claim that the Bank of China should have known the funds were being used illegally even before the Israeli government warning, because the transfers were made in cash, mostly in the range of $100,000, and withdrawn immediately.

The plaintiffs are suing the Bank of China because they claim that the bank’s assistance with the wire transfers is the proximate cause of their injuries.

A previous attempt in July 2011 by Bank of China to dismiss the case by arguing that it should be tried in China and not in the US was unsuccessful as Judge Barbara R. Kapnick of the New York District Supreme Court wrote that to dismiss the action in favor of it being tried in a Chinese court would “only increase the hardship” of the plaintiffs.

Since then, the parties have been engaged to discovery which was starting to come to an end when the current dispute over the Israeli government official being deposed arose.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger