Iran and Syria, Funders Of HAMAS, Hit with $165.9M Judgment in U.S. Court

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Court) has entered Judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic, ordering the countries, both state sponsors of terrorism, to pay $165.9 million in compensatory and punitive damages in connection with the death of Max Steinberg.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the Court awarded the damages to the family and estate of Max Steinberg, an American citizen who was serving as a lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. Max was in Gaza City searching for kidnapped victims of terror in the HAMAS terror tunnels when he was ambushed and killed.

As found by the Court, HAMAS, which immediately took credit for the attack, had been receiving and benefiting from funding, weapons and other material support provided by both Iran and Syria. Both countries have long been designated by the US State Department as State Sponsors of Terrorism and, therefore, do not enjoy sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The compensatory damages awarded by the court included $934,010 of estimated net economic loss to Max’s estate, as well as $5 million to each of his parents and $2.5 million to each of his siblings as compensation for the mental anguish, bereavement and grief which they suffered.

In addition, the Court awarded the family punitive damages in the amount of $150 million, consistent with other DC District Court decisions “to punish and deter foreign states from engaging in or materially supporting terrorism.”

The Plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Heideman Nudelman & Kalik, PC. “We are most pleased by this decision of the Court,” said senior counsel Richard D. Heideman, “as it has provided a measure of justice for the Steinberg family and other American victims of terror and their families.” He continued, “As long as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Syrian Arab Republic and other state sponsors of terror continue to sponsor acts of international terror committed against Americans, we will fight to hold them legally accountable.”

• View: Order and Judgement
• View: Memorandum Opinion