American Victims of Hezbollah Rockets Sue North Korea in D.C. Court

Apr 10, 2009, 07:34 ET from Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

WASHINGTON, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty American victims of Hezbollah terror attacks have filed an unprecedented civil action in the United States District Court for Washington, DC against the government of North Korea. The suit, Kaplan v. North Korea (09-Civ.-0646), requests more than a $100 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified sum of punitive damages. The complaint also names Hezbollah as a defendant.

The plaintiffs, who were injured by rockets fired into northern Israel by Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, allege that North Korea assisted the Lebanese terrorist organization by providing military training to senior Hezbollah leaders and by building networks of underground bunkers to store Katyusha rocket launchers in South Lebanon. The North Korean bunkers enabled Hezbollah to carry out the thousands of missile attacks which rained on Israeli cities between July 12 and August 14, 2006 from below ground even as Israeli air force jets hunted and sought to destroy the launchers. Forty three Israeli citizens were killed and more than 4,000 were injured by Hezbollah rockets.

This is the first lawsuit brought by Hezbollah victims against the government of North Korea for its provision of material support to the terrorist group.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin and Nathan Tarnor of New York City, and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv.

In their court papers the plaintiffs cite a May 8, 2008 Congressional memorandum prepared for the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee which describes one of the North Korean built facilities as "a 25 kilometer underground tunnel that Hezbollah used to move troops. Hezbollah's underground facilities significantly improved Hezbollah's ability to fight the Israelis during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war."

Attorney Darshan-Leitner states that: "North Korea has become a major player in providing support and material resources to Middle East terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. It was North Korea which trained Hezbollah's leadership and built the underground bunkers that permitted the terrorists to evade Israeli jets during the Second Lebanese War and to continue their rocket attacks targeting civilians. As a facilitator of the Hezbollah rockets, North Korea is financially liable to all those Americans injured by the terrorists. The lawsuit aims to secure a measure of justice for the terror victims and teach North Korea that it cannot continue to support Hezbollah with impunity."

A copy of the complaint is available here:

Please contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: 212-591-0073,

SOURCE Nitsana Darshan-Leitner