Palestinians sue former Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter in American Court

December 9, 2005 3:32 PM IMEMC & Agencies Diplomacy, International, News Report 0

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported on Friday that several Palestinian residents filed a civil suit against the former Israeli Shin Bet security service Chief, Avi Dichter in the US Federal Court.

The residents are relatives of 14 civilians, includin children, who were killed when the Israeli army assassinated senior Hamas fighter Salah Shihada in July 2002.
 
Haaretz said that the suit was filed in the US district Court, in the Southern District of New York.
 
Several Palestinians have previously filed suits against Israeli security officials in US courts, but unlike other cases Avi Dichter is currently in the US, therefore the plaintiffs have been able to serve him with the papers, thereby enabling the court to hear the case.
 
According to the suit filed against Dichter, he shares responsibility for the deaths of the civilians because of his role in the decision to drop a one-ton bomb in a civilian building where Shihada was staying, and because he supplied the intelligence on which that decision was based.
 
The Israeli army claimed that it decided to bomb the residential building after receiving intelligent information that Shihada was alone there.
 
The suit does not ask for a specific sum in damages; it would be decided by the jury. The plaintiffs are seeking both compensation and punitive damages, arguing the bombing the residential building constituted a war crime; Dichter has not yet responded to the suit.
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