Gaza family withdraws lawsuit


NEW YORK (JTA) — A Palestinian family that lost 29 members in Israel’s offensive in Gaza withdrew a $200 million lawsuit filed on its behalf.

Attorney Mohammed Fukra had filed the suit in Nazareth District Court on behalf of the Samouni family, from the southern Gaza City suburb of Zaytoun, against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.

On Tuesday, the family said it had not signed the power of attorney over to Fukra, since it is being represented by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, according to Ha’aretz .

On Jan. 4, an Israeli tank shell hit the family’s three-story building, killing seven of its members. The apartment burned down and the survivors took refuge in a shelter, but the building was shelled the following day and 22 more family members were killed.

Both shellings injured 45 other family members, most of them children aged 8 to 14, according to a statement by the prosecution.

A Palestinian family from the northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabaliya, 11 of whose children were killed in an Israeli strike, filed a similar lawsuit last week demanding more than $40 million in compensation.

Some 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s three-week offensive in the coastal strip in December and January. Israel launched the operation in response to ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza at its southern towns and villages. Thirteen Israelis were killed by rockets and in ground fighting.

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