Shurat HaDin organization files lawsuit against Pyongyang on behalf of families of victims of terror attack at Ben Gurion International Airport 37 years ago which left 26 people, mostly Puerto Ricans, dead. Suit alleges North Korea financed, trained attack's perpetrators
Ynet Published: 02.13.10, 13:10 / Israel News
The North Korean government is to face charges of supporting terrorism against Israel in a US federal court over the 1972 terror attack at Ben Gurion International Airport, which left 26 people dead and 80 injured. Most of the victims were Puerto Rican tourists.
A lawsuit filed by families of the victims, represented by the Shurat HaDin organization, alleges the government of North Korea trained and financed the terrorists who carried out the attack.
The incident took place in May 1972, when three terrorists from the Japanese Red Army, working with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, brought automatic weapons, ammunition and grenades with them in their check-in bags on a flight from Italy to Israel.
After collecting their luggage at the Ben Gurion arrivals hall, they took out their weapons and opened fire in every direction, hitting passengers, flight crew members and airport personnel. They also tried to bomb airplanes on the ground using hand grenades.
Two of the assailants were killed, and the third, Kozo Akumoto was arrested and sentences to prison in Israel.
Most of the victims were Catholic pilgrims from Puerto Rico who had come to visit the Holy Land for the first time.
Shurat HaDin claims leaders of the JRA and PFLP had met with North Korean officials who provided funding, intelligence, training, and other material support for the terrorists behind the attack.
The organization also claims that North Korea was responsible for building an underground bunker system for Hezbollah, which increased its capacity to fight in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
North Korea was placed on the US State Department's official list of states that sponsor terrorism in 1988 – making it possible for American victims to sue the North Korean government and collect against their assets in a US court.
While North Korea was removed from the list in 2008, the current lawsuit was filed before the deadline, and the trial is slated to begin on December 3 in the US Federal Court in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Memorial for the victims at Ben Gurion Airport Photo: Tali Yitzhak
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