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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Canadian Injured in Hamas Bombing Sues Iran

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A Vancouver woman injured in a 1997 suicide bombing in Israel is the first to use a new Canadian law to sue Iran over its state sponsorship of Hamas.

In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit brought under Canada's Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, Sherri Wise sued the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country's Ministry of Information and Security in B.C. Supreme Court.

Wise claims she was on the last day of a three-week internship as a dentist in Jerusalem when she met friends for lunch at the city's Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall. She says she was a few feet from one of three suicide bombers who detonated the devices in "quick succession ... packed with nails, screws, pieces of glass and chemical poisons with the intention of inflicting maximum pain, suffering and death."

The bombs killed five people, injured nearly 200 and caused "significant property damage," according to the lawsuit. Wise suffered severe burns to 40 percent of her body and had "shrapnel (including nails) embedded in her body."

Afterward, Wise couldn't care for herself and could only work part-time after months of rehabilitation, according to the complaint.

Wise claims Iran's information and security ministry provided not only weapons and training to Hamas at the time, but also tens of millions of dollars to the group "to fund, among other things, the bombing."

"Hamas received routine and systematic support and resources from the defendants in furtherance of its activities, which included organizing and implementing terrorist attacks like the bombing," the complaint states. "Without the financial and other support it received from the defendants, Hamas could not have carried out the bombing."

The case relies upon the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, a 2012 law that removes immunity from state sponsors of terrorism, as Iran is designated in Canada.

Wise is represented by Mark Freiman of Lerners LLP in Toronto.

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