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Arab Bank case heads toward closing arguments

Closing arguments are expected Thursday in a landmark lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn by victims of Mideast terror attacks against Jordan's Arab Bank after the bank rested its defense case earlier than expected.

In the trial, which began Aug. 11, victims of 24 suspected Hamas attacks from 2000 to 2004 are seeking damages because the bank handled transactions for some Hamas operatives and affiliates, and processed payments from a Saudi charity to families of "martyrs."

The bank says all it did was provide routine banking services to customers, and it complied with U.S. and international terrorism blacklists. But it refused to turn over some records to the plaintiffs, and trimmed its witness list because of sanctions limiting what they could say.

The case is the first to go to trial against a financial services institution under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act. The jury will determine liability, and if it finds the bank culpable, damages will be assessed at a separate proceeding.

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