The family of a three-month-old baby girl, Chaya Zissel Braun, who was killed in a vehicular terror attack on the Jerusalem light rail in October 2014, won a stunning $178,500,000 US Court judgment against Iran and Syria in January 2017, for Iran and Syria’s provision of material support to the Hamas terror organization which perpetrated the attack.
According to Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, whose Tel Aviv-based Law Center, Shurat HaDin, represented the Braun family in court: “The criminal regimes in Tehran and Damascus are the biggest state sponsors of terrorism is the world. This judgement sends a clear message that there is a very heavy price to be paid for financing terrorism and spilling innocent blood in the streets of Jerusalem. Shurat HaDin will relentlessly pursue the Islamic Republic and Syria through all legal avenues in order to ensure that these judgements are enforced and that the terror victims achieve a measure of justice.”
Chaya Zissel Braun was a three-month old United States citizen living in Israel at the time of her murder. She was a long awaited and beloved daughter for her young parents who had tried to conceive a child unsuccessfully for over a year following their wedding.
The lawsuit Braun, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, et al. was filed in the District of Columbia District Court on behalf of Chaya Zissel Braun’s parents and grandparents pursuant to the foreign sovereign immunities act terrorism exception, 28 U.S.C. § 1605A. The lawsuit details how Hamas agent, Abdel Rahman Shaludi, intentionally drove his car onto the light rail tracks when Chana and Shmuel Braun were getting off the train with their baby daughter and rammed his vehicle into the crowd of pedestrians. The Brauns were on their way home from their first visit to the Western Wall with their new baby when the car struck. Shaludi’s vehicle struck the baby’s stroller causing her to be thrown some ten meters into the air before landing on her head on the pavement while her mother screamed in horror. She was pronounced dead some two hours later. The terror attack also claimed the life of one other person and badly injured Chaya Zissel’s father, Shmuel. Hamas publicly praised the attack and referred to the attacker as a ‘martyr’ and ”son” of Hamas. The Court found that the attack was carried out by Hamas and that both Hamas and Syria were liable to the plaintiffs on the basis of the massive material support they had provided to Hamas in previous years. It awarded damages to Chana and Shmuel Braun, as representatives of the estate of Chaya Zissel Braun and for their own injuries in the attack and resulting from the loss of their daughter. The Court also awarded damages to the parents of Chana and Shmuel Braun for their mental anguish resulting from their children being targeted in a terror attack.