Jan. 30, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- The following release is being issued by
Meridian 361 International Law Group, PLLC; Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC; Perles Law Firm PC:
Twenty-eight years ago, machine gun fire and hand grenades shattered the holiday season of dozens of innocent civilians in two airports targeted by terrorists of the Abu Nidal Organization. On the morning of
December 27, 1985
, four terrorists entered the Fiumicino Airport in
, and fired Kalashnikov machine guns and threw hand grenades into the crowds of civilian men, women and children waiting to check in for their flights at the El Al and TWA ticket counters. The terrorists selected these ticket counters because at the time El Al and TWA were the flagship airlines of
the United States
respectively. Simultaneously, in
, another four
terrorists launched a coordinated attack on civilians in the Schwechat Airport.
The terrorists killed 16 people and injured 77 in the Rome Airport Attack, and killed 3 people and injured 30 in the Vienna Airport Attack. Among their victims were 22 Americans, including young children.
In 2006, attorneys
of Meridian 361 International Law Group PLLC,
Richard D. Heideman
Noel J. Nudelman
Tracy Reichman Kalik
of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik PC and
Steven R. Perles
of the Perles Law Firm PC, sued the Syrian Arab Republic, Syrian Air Force Intelligence and General
for their state sponsorship and involvement in the airport massacre.
John M. Facciola
presiding over the case in the federal district court in
, Civil Action No. 06-727, delivered his judgment against the Syrian defendants, holding them accountable for the
terrorist attack and awarding over
in damages to the American victims of the attack.
In rendering his judgment, based on all of the evidence presented at trial, including confessions obtained by counsel from surviving terrorists imprisoned in
, Judge Facciola said: "The
and Vienna Airport attacks could not have taken place without
's direct support."
Attorney Jenkins said: "The authoritarian Syrian regime has spent between
$500,000,000 and $700,000,000
annually on terrorism related expenditures, supporting the Abu Nidal Organization during its active period and more recently Hezbollah and Hamas and others. This judgment is an important message to
and all other would be state sponsors of terrorist organizations, that they will be held accountable for harboring, funding and arming terrorists."
Richard D. Heideman
, lead trial counsel, said, "This judgment is an important statement of the Court intended to punish
for its past acts and serve as a deterrent against future Syrian terrorism. We trust that the Court's decision will provide some measure of justice for the victims of terrorism who lost life, limbs and loved ones."