Federal judge orders Iran, Syria to pay $191M for Hamas-supported slaying of American Israeli activist

A U.S. court has ordered Iran and Syria to pay $191 million over the 2018 Hamas killing of an American citizen living in Israel.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found on Thursday that the family and estate of Ari Fuld are entitled to compensation due to Iran and Syria’s support for terrorism. Neither Iran nor Syria sent lawyers to represent them in the case, resulting in a default judgment.

“The stabbing that killed Mr. Fuld was a tragic event, and money cannot fully account for the harm that these defendants have inflicted,” Senior Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in the ruling. “Iran and Syria have, once again, provided material support to Hamas and thereby facilitated the savage murder of a husband, father, son and brother to these plaintiffs.”

“The court’s ruling today cannot erase plaintiffs’ pain, but it can begin the process of affording them due compensation for their loss,” he added.

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Relatives and friends mourn during the funeral of Ari Fuld, 45, an American-born Israeli fatally stabbed by a Palestinian member of Hamas, at a cemetery in Kfar Etzion in the West Bank.

Fuld, who was 45 at the time, was outside a mall in the Jewish West Bank area of Gush Etzion in 2018 when 17-year-old Palestinian Khalil Jabarin fatally stabbed him. Fuld, a father of four, chased his assailant after the stabbing before succumbing to injury, Israeli Ynet News reported. A bystander shot Jabarin, stopping him before he was apprehended.

Jabarin was convicted in 2020 of intentionally causing Fuld’s death and attempting to kill three others, and also ordered to pay the equivalent of $365,128 to his family, according to The Times of Israel. 

Hamas praised the stabbing after it happened.

“The attack makes it clear that our people wish to continue the Jerusalem intifada. To resist the occupation, by using all means necessary, is our legitimate right,” the terrorist organization said, according to Ynet.

Fuld was a known activist who supported Israel and was known to deliver care packages to the Israeli military. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to him as “an advocate for Israel who fought to spread the truth,” and then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Fuld was “a passionate defender of Israel & an American patriot.”

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brothers of Ari Fuld

The brothers of Ari Fuld, 45, an American-born Jewish settler, mourn during his funeral at a cemetery in Kfar Etzion in the West Bank.

While Fuld’s family and estate are unlikely to succeed in forcing Iran and Syria to actually pay the damages, the U.S. does have various methods by which they may receive compensation.

The most likely route is through the Justice Department’s U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. The program seeks to distribute funds seized from state sponsors of terrorism across the globe to victims of terrorism in the U.S.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

Lawyer Richard Heideman, whose firm represented Fuld’s family and estate, said the case could be a precursor for victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre.

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“It is important, we believe, to stand against terror in every way that we can,” Heideman told the Jewish News Syndicate in an interview. “We and other law firms are indeed busily standing up on behalf of victims and their families as a result of these acts of terror.”

Israelis, explosion

Lawyer Richard Heideman, whose firm represented Fuld’s family and estate, said the case could be a precursor for victims of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre. (Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

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“Our firm has been engaged to represent a number of families and we’ve drafted complaints that will be strategically filed in the near future,” he added. “It’s not a military act, but it’s an act of defiance that is essential.”

Read the full district court ruling below:

This post was originally published on Fox News

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