Court: No damages to relatives of Sbarro bomber

Innocent civilians, in this case the father, brother and uncle of a suicide bomber who killed 15 people in 2001 in the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, cannot claim damages for damage caused to their property in the demolition of the terrorist's home, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled on Monday. The case involved the relatives of As-el-Din Mari, who blew himself up in the downtown restaurant, killing 15 and wounding 107 on August 9, 2001. The relatives sued the state for NIS 394,720, charging that in demolishing Mari's home, the soldiers had destroyed furniture in their adjacent homes, a fence, two cars, fruit trees and sheep. In his ruling, Judge Yodel Tzur ruled that the destruction or sealing of a house is an act of war as defined in the Civil Damages Law, which includes acts meant to prevent terrorism. Tzur also referred to a Supreme Court ruling that acts meant to prevent terrorism included those initiated by the army. Tzur ruled that the law was constitutional and rejected the plaintiffs' claim that it was disproportional. He wrote that the aim of the demolition was preventive and deterrent. He also justified the fact that the demolition was carried out at night on the grounds that the soldiers were operating in a hostile village and wanted to avoid a confrontation with the villagers. Tzur also rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the soldiers had acted negligently. On the contrary, he said, they had acted with excessive caution. He listed a series of actions on the part of the army that proved it had planned the demolition carefully. For example, an officer in the Engineering Corps who was himself an engineer had prepared the demolition plans, the soldiers who carried out the demolition held a practice session first, and the unit had asked for and received permission from the brigade commander and a legal adviser before carrying out the operation.