Jerusalem - An Israeli group has filed suit against North Korea on charges of supporting a major attack against the Jewish state.
Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center, has filed a suit in a U.S. district court in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the families of the victims of the 1972 attack in Israel. In an attack on Lod Airport, 26 people were killed and 80 others were injured by attackers alleged to have been trained by North Korea. The attack was also attributed to the Japanese Red Army (JRA) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
"This will be the first time North Korea is being held to account in a U.S. court for its support of terrorism over many decades," Shurat HaDin said Tuesday.
Most of the victims in the 1972 shooting were Catholic pilgrims from Puerto Rico who had come to visit the Holy Land for the first time. The court complaint alleged that Pyongyang - North Korea's capital - had trained and financed the three attackers, who used automatic weapons, ammunition and grenades. Two of the three attackers were killed and the third was captured and sentenced to prison in Israel.
"North Korea was behind the attack," Shurat HaDin said. "As the trial will show incontrovertibly, in the months leading up to the massacre, the leaders of the JRA and PFLP met each other and with North Korean officials, who provided funding, intelligence, training, and other material support for the terrorists."
The trial was scheduled to begin on Thursday in the U.S. federal district court in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The plaintiffs have argued that North Korea supported JRA's plan to target Israel as part of its campaign to promote communist revolution.
North Korea, removed from the State Department's list of terrorist sponsors in 2008, has been identified as a leading weapons supplier to Iran and Syria. Israel has asserted that Pyongyang helped build the huge underground network for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Shurat HaDin has filed two other lawsuits against North Korea.
"It is widely known that one of the world's most oppressive regimes, North Korea, is also a consistent supporter of terrorism, including providing weaponry, training bases, and funding for Palestinian terrorist organizations," Shurat HaDin said.