JERUSALEM (AP) — A U.S. court has ordered the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to pay millions of dollars in damages to a group of Americans it sued saying they were injured by the group’s rockets during a war with Israel in 2006.
The case was brought under the US Anti-Terrorism Act and alleged that Hezbollah caused the plaintiffs physical and emotional injuries and damaged their property. The judge ordered Hezbollah to pay $111 million in damages to the plaintiffs.
Such civil lawsuits brought against militant groups are difficult to enforce, but Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said it was a major legal victory against the Iranian-backed group.
“Only by exacting a high price from those who engage in the business of terrorism can we prevent additional suffering and loss of victims from their violence,” Darshan-Leitner said in a statement.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006. Israel hit targets in Lebanon while Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets at cities and towns in northern Israel. Israel still considers the heavily armed Shi’ite militant group to be a major threat.
In Friday’s ruling, Judge Steven L. Tiscione of the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, said the plaintiffs had successfully established that Hezbollah’s actions were a violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act and held the group responsible.
A Hezbollah spokesman declined to comment.