Thirty victims of Hizbullah's Katyusha rocket attacks on northern Israel during the Second Lebanon War have filed a civil action in the United States District Court for Washington, DC against the North Korean government, which they claim aided the Shiite group.
The suit requests more than a $100 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified sum of punitive damages. The complaint also names Hizbullah as a defendant.
According to the plaintiffs, all of whom hold US citizenship, Pyongyang provided military training for senior Hizbullah figures – including Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah - and built a network of bunkers in which Katyusha rocket launchers were stored.
These underground bunkers, the lawsuit stated, allowed Hizbullah to launch hundreds of rockets toward northern Israel even as Israeli warplanes sought to bomb the launchers.
Fourty-three Israeli civilians were killed and more than 4,000 others were injured during the war.
The statement of claim cites a May 8, 2008 Congressional memorandum prepared for the US House Foreign Affairs Committee which describes one of the North Korean-built facilities as "a 25 kilometer underground tunnel that Hizbullah used to move troops.
"Hizbullah's underground facilities significantly improved Hizbullah's ability to fight the Israelis during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war," the memo read.
The plaintiffs, who were injured by the rockets, further claimed that North Korea supplied Hizbullah with weapons and explosives.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Israel Law Center, Attorney Nitzana Darshan Leitner and American attorney Robert Tolchin.
Darshan-Leitner stated that "North Korea has become a major player in providing support and material resources to Middle East terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah. It was North Korea which trained Hizbullah leadership and built the underground bunkers that permitted the terrorists to evade Israeli jets during the Second Lebanon War and to continue their rocket attacks targeting civilians.
"As a facilitator of the Hizbullah rockets, North Korea is financially liable to all those Americans injured by the terrorists. The lawsuit aims to secure a measure justice for the terror victims and teach North Korea that it cannot continue to support Hizbullah with impunity," said the attorney.