Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner LLP and MM~LAW LLC won a significant victory in the fight against terrorism yesterday, with a finding in the U.S. Federal court that Syria, Iran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and three Iranian banks (Markazi, Melli, and Saderat) were all liable for Hamas’ brutal murder of American Eitam and his wife Naama Henkin in 2015.
This marks the first time that the courts have found Banks Markazi, Melli or Saderat liable for a terror attack by a foreign terrorist organization against a U.S. national. The verdict was announced yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, with the Honorable Judge Royce C. Lamberth presiding.
Eitam and Naama Henkin were driving in Israel’s West Bank with their four children – then aged nine, seven, four, and ten months – when Hamas terrorists attacked them and killed them in front of their children. The children survived because their father Eitam, who was a citizen of the United States, and their mother, Naama, fought with the armed terrorists to save their lives. During the brawl, the gun held by the terrorist struggling with Naama fired killing Eitam and wounding the terrorist struggling with Eitam.
The orphaned children and the estates of their parents filed suit in 2019 under the terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a law used by U.S. victims of attacks by foreign terrorist organizations and their close family members to bring claims against state sponsors of terrorism, government agencies, and any commercial instrumentalities of those states. None of the defendants responded to the lawsuit.
The court’s lengthy ruling yesterday found that Iran and its proxies are liable under U.S. law for the murder of U.S. citizen Eitam Henkin, and liable under Israeli law for the harm suffered by Naama and the children stemming from Eitam’s murder.