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Arab Bank Civil Claims Over Attack Trimmed by U.S. Judge

A former Israeli public security official can’t pursue a claim in a lawsuit that Arab Bank Plc aided and abetted a Hamas-implicated attack, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein threw out a claim that Jordan’s largest bank specifically aided in the 2008 gunfire attack in Israel that wounded Mati Gill, an ex-aide to that country’s then-minister of public security, according to the decision filed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The judge said in his ruling that Gill failed to show the bank directly caused the attack.

“The clear, present, and serious dangers now posed to the nation by terrorist acts cannot excuse a lack of due process in applying civil law,” Weinstein said in his 82-page ruling.

Gill, a U.S. and Israeli citizen, is seeking civil damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act from the Amman, Jordan-based bank over the incident. The ruling allows his suit to move forward on four other claims, including those alleging that the bank conspired with Hamas and knowingly supported terrorism.

Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S.

‘Cautiously Optimistic’

“Obviously, the judge put a lot of time and thought into the analysis, and we’re cautiously optimistic that we will be able to go to trial,” a lawyer for Gill, Gary Osen, said in a phone interview.

A trial is scheduled for Nov. 19.

Bob Chlopak, a spokesman for the bank, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is separate from a pending lawsuit filed by U.S. and Israeli citizens in Brooklyn federal court alleging that the bank helped provide payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

In 2005, the New York branch of Arab Bank agreed to pay a $24 million civil penalty to settle U.S. allegations that it failed to identify and report suspicious transactions involving possible support of terrorism, according to Weinstein’s ruling. The bank neither admitted nor denied those claims, according to the ruling.

The case is Gill v. Arab Bank Plc, 1:11-cv-03706, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

The other case is Linde v. Arab Bank Plc, 04-cv-02799, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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