Judge awards $2.2 billion to victims of Beirut attack on Marines

Plaintiffs who sued Iran over attack hope frozen Iranian assets in US can be collected; award is third in two weeks


A federal judge has awarded $2.16 billion to victims of the 1983 suicide truck-bombing of U.S. Marines in Beirut, his third award in two weeks to plaintiffs who had sued Iran over the attack.

The money will be difficult to collect, but the victims hope to obtain it from Iranian assets frozen in the United States.

The explosion at the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. (photo credit: US Marines, Wikimedia Commons)

The explosion at the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 – photo credit: US Marines, Wikimedia Commons

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth awarded the money Friday to estates of dead Marines and to injured Marines and their relatives. Two days ago, he awarded $44.6 million to two servicemen who were injured and their family members. And last week, he awarded $33.3 million to family members of two injured servicemen.

Iran has been blamed for supporting the militant group Hezbollah, which carried out the bombing.

In Friday’s ruling, Lamberth awarded $487 million in compensatory damages and $1.67 billion in punitive damages to about 180 victims and estates.

A lawyer for the victims, Thomas Fortune Fay, said he has attached nearly $2 billion in Iranian assets in a Citibank account in New York, which Iran’s central bank is fighting. Including Friday’s ruling, Lamberth has awarded more than $7 billion to victims of the 1983 attack from Iran, and Fay has represented nearly all of them. He said that to date, none of his clients have received money from the awards. Fay said the victims have agreed to share whatever they get proportionately.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.