Suit tossed against bank over terror strike

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Efforts to hold the mammoth Jordanian Arab Bank liable for terror attacks in Israel because of services it provided to Hamas suffered a setback Tuesday when a Brooklyn federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a man wounded in a 2008 attack.

U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein said Mati Gill, a dual U.S. and Israeli citizen wounded in a sniper attack Hamas took credit for, would not be able to show that the bank had a culpable mental state or that its actions caused the attack.

"Hamas is not the defendant; the Bank is," the judge wrote, "and the evidence does not prove that the Bank acted with an improper state of mind or proximately caused plaintiff's injury."

The Gill case is one of dozens of suits over Mideast terror attacks brought by a consortium of plaintiffs lawyers against Arab Bank, with more than $50 billion in assets, and other financial institutions. Although other judges have upheld the suits, the bank portrayed Weinstein's ruling as a landmark.

"This is the first Arab Bank case where the court has evaluated the entire record, and it dismissed the case concluding the Bank was not responsible for the plaintiff's injuries," said spokesman Robert Chlopak.

Attorneys for Gill, however, said Weinstein's ruling was limited to a particular fact -- finding that evidence of the bank's services to Hamas up until 2004 was too far removed in time from a 2008 attack -- but was not an obstacle to suits over dozens of earlier attacks.

"No federal court has required the kind of proximity in time between the material support and a terrorist attack that the Gill court required," added plaintiffs attorney Gary Osen. He said the decision would be appealed.

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