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Wednesday, 4 September, 2002, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
11 September victims sue Iraq
Lawyer Ron Motley holds a copy of a lawsuit he is filing against financial backers of terrorists on behalf of 11 September victims and families
Suits against al-Qaeda are already being fought in DC
Victims and relatives of victims of the 11 September tragedy are suing Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein for their alleged role in the attacks on the United States.


Bin Laden will curse Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs

Naeem Abd Muhalhal
Iraqi journalist
Two lawsuits are being filed by 1,400 plaintiffs in a Manhattan federal court to demand a total of more than $1,000bn from Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network and the former Taleban rulers in Afghanistan.

Jim Kreindler, one of the lawyers bringing the case, said that these would be the first actions to provide "evidence" of Iraq's alleged involvement in the attacks.

Damages are also being claimed from the estates of the hijackers who crashed the four airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The lawsuits say that Iraq had sworn revenge for its defeat by America in the 1991 Gulf War.

"In order to avoid another confrontation with US military forces, Iraq contracted with or sponsored Islamic fundamentalists who were willing to commit terrorist acts on Iraq's behalf," they say.

Attacks predicted

The lawsuit provides as evidence an article by a journalist with alleged links to Iraqi intelligence who said that Bin Laden was planning to attack the Pentagon and the White House.

Saddam Hussein
These are the first actions to provide evidence of alleged Iraqi involvement
Naeem Abd Muhalhal wrote in Al Nasiriyah newspaper on 21 July 2001 - just six weeks before the attacks - that Bin Laden would "strike America on the arm that is already hurting", apparently referring to the 1993 bombing of the WTC.

He also said that Bin Laden would "curse Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs", apparently a reference to the song New York, New York.

The suit mentions meetings between Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Iraqi intelligence agents in Baghdad in 1992.

And it alleges that Ramzi Yousef, the ringleader of the group responsible for the 1993 bombing, was an Iraqi intelligence agent.

Families of victims have been pursuing a court action against al-Qaeda, the Taleban, the country of Sudan and several members of the Saudi royal family since August in a court in the District of Columbia.

The action is also targeting seven financial institutions and the Bin Laden family construction firm, which lawyers say gave financial backing to al-Qaeda.


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European probe

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IN DEPTH
See also:

17 Aug 02 | Americas
16 Aug 02 | Middle East
16 Aug 02 | Americas
08 Aug 02 | Politics
02 May 02 | Americas
22 May 01 | Europe
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