Lawsuits in behalf of 29 Israeli civilians killed in a Palestinian terrorist raid in Israel in 1978 and 65 persons wounded in the attack were filed in U.S. District Court here yesterday, seeked almost $1.5 million in damages from the Libyan government, the Palestine Liberation Organization and three related organizations in the United States.
The raid, considered the worst terrorist attack in Israeli history, violated numerous international laws and agreements joined in by the United States, including Geneva convention protections for civilians in wartime and various United Nations resolutions, according to the lawsuits. Moreover, the lawsuits contend, the PLO terrorist activities, promoted by Libya, violated U.S. laws relating to foreign governments and their residents.
In two lawsuits brought separately for the dead civilians and the survivors, attorneys contend that planning for the terrorist raid and procurement of money and weapons for the attack occurred within the United States. The lawsuits argue that the cases should be tried in the federal court here because Washington is the center of diplomatic relations with Libya and the center for lobbying on behalf of the PLO by other groups named as defendants in the lawsuit. The cases were filed by the Arlington law firm of Lewis, Wilson, Lewis & Jones.
The cases, assigned to Judge Joyce Hens Green, contend that Libya provides training for PLO terrorists, plans PLO activities and supplies naval bases for the PLO in Libya. In addition to Libya and the PLO, the lawsuits seek damages from the Palestine Information Office The National Association of Arab Americans and the Palestine Congress of North America.