The suit, Havlish vs Bin Laden, stemmed from Fiona Havlish, whose
husband perished in the World Trade Center when Al Qaida slammed two
hijacked passenger jets into the New York skyscraper. Attorneys from eight
U.S. law firms, citing the 9/11 Commission, have asserted that Iran used
Imad Mughniyeh as its liasion to Al Qaida, Middle East Newsline reported. Mughniyeh, who served as operations
chief of the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah until his assassination in Syria in
2008, was described as a leading planner of the attacks.
"The 9/11 Commission discovered, just days before publication of its
report, important U.S. intelligence documents that detailed Iran's
involvement in aiding and abetting the 9/11 plot,” Mellon said.
In its 2004 report, the 9/11 Commission, based on a six-page classified
U.S. intelligence analysis, urged the United States to investigate the
relationship between Al Qaida and Iran. But the attorneys said Washington
did not comply. Instead, the attorneys worked with commission staffers as
well as former Iranian intelligence officers to pursue the Iranian link to
"Our experts, including three former 9/11 Commission staff members, have
stated that the evidence is 'clear and convincing' that the Islamic Republic
of Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks,” Timothy Fleming, the lead
investigative attorney, said.
Mughniyeh had long been sought by the United States. He was accused
of masterminding the attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks
in 1983 in which more than 300 people were killed. He was also said to have
killed American hostages in Lebanon, including CIA station chief in Beirut,
William Buckley, and Marine Lt. Col. Richard Higgins.
The attorneys said Mughniyeh and senior Iranian officials helped Al
Qaida escape Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion. Iran was said
to have provided safe haven to Al Qaida commanders.
In its final report, the 9/11 Commission did not identify Mughniyeh.
Instead, the panel asserted that a "senior Hizbullah operative visited Saudi
to coordinate activities there" and boarded the same flight as several of
the Al Qaida attackers to Iran in October 2000 and February 2001.
"We have compelling evidence that the 'senior Hizbullah operative' was
Imad Mughniyeh," Dennis Pantazis, one of the attorneys, said.
Iran has not presented a defense of the suit, and the district court
clerk entered a default against Teheran. Havlish and the co-plaintiffs have
the federal court to rule on the case.
"These families have waited nearly 10 years to hear the truth," Pantazis
said. "Under the scrutiny of a federal judge, hopefully this will be
accomplished in the next few months."