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Sept. 11 Victims Rejected by U.S. High Court on Lawsuit

9/11 Memorial in NY
The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away an appeal by thousands of Sept. 11 attack victims who sought to sue Middle Eastern companies and people for allegedly providing crucial support to al-Qaeda.

The victims sought to revive their claims against relatives of Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned National Commercial Bank and Saudi Binladen Group, a construction company controlled by the former al-Qaeda leader’s family.

A federal appeals court threw out those claims in 2013, saying the victims didn’t allege a close enough connection between the defendants’ activities and the attacks. The appellate panel also said some defendants lacked sufficient ties to the U.S. to bring them within the jurisdiction of American courts.

The defendants were among hundreds that have been sued in Sept. 11 litigation pending in federal court in Manhattan.

The rebuff came after the Supreme Court sought advice from the Obama administration, which in May urged the justices to reject the appeal without a hearing.

In a separate case stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks, the Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from Saudi Arabia, which said an appeals court improperly reopened claims that the country helped al-Qaeda.

The 2001 attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The suing victims include family members of those killed, thousands of people who were injured and companies that incurred billions of dollars in property damage.

The case is O’Neill v. Al Rajhi Bank, 13-318, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia v. Federal Insurance Co., 13-1146.

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