Chaya Zissel Braun at Western Wall.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A US court this week ordered the governments of Iran and Syria to pay nearly $200 million to the family of an Israeli infant killed by a Hamas terrorist in a 2014 vehicular attack in Jerusalem.
The US District Court in Washington, DC ruled Tuesday that Tehran and Damascus were liable to provide compensation for damages amounting to $178,500,000 due to their financial backing of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
The Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin represented the family of dual Israeli-American citizen Chaya Zissel Braun, the three-month-old baby who was killed when Palestinian terrorist Abdel Rahman Shaludi rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people at the Ammunition Hill light-rail station in the capital. Israeli officials identified the perpetrator as a convicted terrorist who had previously served a prison sentence and had ties to Hamas.
Due to the infant's dual nationality
, her parents and grandparents filed the case with the US court. The case was won on default judgement as at least one defendant failed to appear before the court.
“The criminal regimes in Tehran and Damascus are the biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the world," said Shurat HaDin lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. "This judgement sends a clear message that there is a very heavy price to be paid for financing terrorism and spilling innocent blood in the streets of Jerusalem."
The US State Department condemned the October 2014 attack "in the strongest possible terms."
"We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at the time. "We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident."
During the attack, the infant was thrown from her stroller before landing headfirst on the pavement. She was evacuated to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to her wounds shortly thereafter. Seven other people were wounded in the incident.
While Hamas praised the attack, hundreds of people attended the baby's funeral
, including President Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.