Hundreds of families of Sept. 11 victims are suing the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging the kingdom knowingly provided material support and resources to al-Qaeda and facilitated the terror attacks that killed thousands in New York, the Washington, D.C. area and Pennsylvania.
Fifteen of the 19 plane hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks were Saudi nationals.
The lawsuit was filed in New York City Friday by law firm Kreindler & Kreindler.
The families accuses Saudi Arabia of raising and providing money to al-Qaida for terrorist activities, including terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, safe houses, weapons and false passport and travel documents, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit accuses Saudia Arabia of being “duplicitous”: “It presented a public face to the United States and other Western countries of a nation fighting al Qaeda and terrorism while at the same time, as detailed herein, Saudi government actors gave al Qaeda substantial material support and resources.”
The families are seeking monetary damages, with separate awards for each plaintiff plus interest, costs, punitive damages and other damages and fees.
The families of the 9/11 victims are being allowed to sue under legislation passed by Congress, which gives victims’ families the rights to sue in U.S. Court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks.
The bill, called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, was vetoed by then-President Obama last September.
He said at the time the legislation could backfire by opening up the U.S. government and its officials to lawsuits by anyone accusing the U.S. of supporting terrorism, rightly or wrongly.
Congress overturned the veto.