JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—The Washington, DC, District Court on Tuesday awarded $332 million in damages to the Wultz family of Florida, whose 16-year-old son, Daniel, was murdered by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv in 2006. The court found both Iran and Syria guilty of supporting the Palestinian terrorist group that perpetrated the attack and ordered both countries to pay damages.
“It’s a great feeling. Justice was done for the terror victims,” said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, whose Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center, helped the Wurtz family pursue the suit. The decision marks the first time Syria has been held responsible by a court for paying damages for terrorism.
According to press reports of the incident, on April 17, 2006, Daniel Wultz and his parents, of Weston, Florida, were having lunch at a restaurant near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station when terrorist Sami Salim Muhammad Hammad of Jenin detonated a bomb containing five-kilos of explosives, packed with nails and ball bearings.
Daniel was mortally wounded, while 10 others were killed outright and more than 60 people were wounded, including Wultz’s Israeli-born father, Yekutiel. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The court learned that Daniel had been conscious after the bombing and until his death, and had suffered extreme physical and emotional pain, knowing he would die. His wounds included severe bleeding from shrapnel, a perforated bowel, and multiple infections, including gangrene, from the deliberately infested bomb materials.
Surgeons at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital fought to save him by removing several of his organs and amputating two fingers and part of his right leg, but Daniel died on May 14, 2006.
His father, who had been sitting beside him at the time of the bombing, continues to suffer pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, including terrifying nightmares and daily flashbacks of the attack.
Wultz’s mother, Sheryl, and other family members filed a suit against the Syrian and Iranian governments three years ago in the United States District Court for Washington, DC. They argued that the Syrians were liable “for their provision of material support and resources” to the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
“When a state chooses to use terror as a policy tool—as Iran and Syria continue to do—that state forfeits its sovereign immunity and deserves unadorned condemnation,” District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled, the Associated Press reported.
Evidence presented to the court showed that at the time of the 2006 bombing, Islamic Jihad was headquartered in Damascus with the Syrian regime’s approval and consent, and that the Syrian government would escort potential terrorists and suicide bombers to training camps on Syrian territory.
Expert witnesses who testified in the trial said Islamic Jihad received “substantial logistical, financial, and technical support from both the Iranian and Syrian defendants.”