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$38 Million in Claims Filed Against City of L.a. in El Al Shooting Case


The city of Los Angeles has been hit with

legal claims of more than $38 million stemming from last year’s July 4

shooting rampage at the L.A. International Airport.

Attorney Richard Fine filed the claims primarily on behalf of the family

of Ya’acov Aminov, one of the two victims killed by Egyptian immigrant

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who opened fire on passengers waiting in line at

the El Al check-in counter.

Fine charged that the city failed to provide any police presence at the

terminal where El Al is located and that it took officers 15 minutes to

respond to the shooting.

“By taking federal grants for anti-terrorist activities, the city accepted

responsibility for security,” he said.

Claims against the city must be presented within six months of the event.

Fine beat the deadline by one day, filing papers last Friday.

Should the city reject the claims within the 45-day deadline, Fine said he

would file a lawsuit in federal court. The case could be expanded to

target Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida — and tap assets frozen by the United

States government.

Shortly after the attack, the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Hayat

published an article suggesting that Hadayet had met with bin Laden’s top

aide in 1995 and 1998.

Of the total amount in the claims, $10 million is earmarked for Aminov’s

widow, Anat, and $17 million for their five children, ranging in age from

two to 10 years.

A further $3 million claim is on behalf of the victim’s three children in

Israel from Aminov’s first marriage.

Compensation for emotional trauma is being sought by four L.A.-area

residents: Arie Golan, who wrestled the gunman to the ground, Michael

Shabtai and Moti Harari, who stood next to Aminov, and Harari’s 6-year old

daughter Shiran, who was thrown over the check-in counter by her father ,

where she landed on top of the second victim, El Al employee Victoria Hen.

Hadayet was killed by an El Al security guard within seconds of opening


Airport officials declined comment, but the L.A. Daily News reported that

security has been beefed up since July 4 with the addition of 60 uniformed

officers to complement the 240 existing airport police.

The FBI still has not issued a final report on the case, to the

frustration of the victims’ families and Israeli officials, who view the

shooting as a clear act of terrorism.

An FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles said last Friday that the results of the

local investigation had been sent to headquarters to evaluate whether the

shooting was a terrorist act or the work of an unstable individual.

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