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Arab Bank transactions linked to terror, witness testifies

A former Israeli intelligence official testified Wednesday that Arab Bank processed 24 transactions between 2000 to 2002 from a Saudi charity to the families of suicide bombers as the plaintiffs neared the end of their case in a landmark terror-victims' suit.

Arieh Spitzen, appearing as an expert witness, said the Saudi charity used Arab Bank for an additional 156 transfers to Hamas operatives or their families -- money the plaintiffs say forseeably enhanced the likelihood of the terror attacks that victimized them.

The bank says it was just providing routine banking services and none of the transfers involved people named on U.S. anti-terror blacklists, but Spitzen said many of them were well-known figures in the Palestinian territories whose funerals were public events.

The plaintiffs are suing in federal court in Brooklyn for damages from 24 attacks attributed to Hamas during the Palestinian uprising from 2000 to 2004. The case, the first to go to trial against a bank under a federal law allowing terror victims to sue, began Aug. 11.

Spitzen, whose cross-examination will start Thursday, is the final plaintiff witness. The bank told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan it expects to have 21 witnesses, including Arab Bank's chairman.

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