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A U.S. judge allowed a lawsuit against the PLO to go forward, saying acts of terror cannot be defined as “acts of war.” George Daniels of the Manhattan District Court on Tuesday dismissed claims by lawyers for the Palestine Liberation Organization that attacks committed between 2001 and 2004 were “acts of war” and immune from tort action. The ruling will allow a $3 billion lawsuit filed by victims and their families to go to trial. Daniels wrote in his ruling that the attacks targeted “non-combative civilians who were allegedly simply going about their everyday lives” and “do not constitute acts of war.” At least 33 people were killed in the attacks at a Hebrew University cafeteria, on Jerusalem streets and on buses. The attacks suggested a “merciless capability of indiscriminately killing and maiming untold numbers in heavily populated civilian areas,” he wrote.

Earlier this year, plaintiffs in the case overcame another hurdle when the Bush administration refrained from intervening after a judge requested its opinion as to whether the PLO and Palestinian Authority were covered by the immunity that protects foreign nations from lawsuits.

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