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Wednesday, August 17, 2011     GET REAL

U.S. court: Suit against Palestinian Authority over killing may proceed

WASHINGTON — The United States has approved a civil suit against the Palestinian Authority for allegedly helping to kill a State Department security contractor.


The U.S. federal Appellate Court approved the filing of a suit against the PA by the family of a State Department contractor killed in the Gaza Strip. Mark Parsons and two other department security contractors died in a bombing of a U.S. diplomatic convoy outside Gaza City in 2003.

Filed in 2007, the suit alleges that the PA helped in the bombing of the State Department convoy, Middle East Newsline reported. Parsons and the other two casualties worked for DynCorp International, responsible for security of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.

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Earlier, a federal district court dismissed the suit. The lower court said the PA could not be held liable for the "alleged criminal acts of a few employees."

But the three-judge appeals court said on Aug. 14 that the suit was legitimate and could be filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991. Parsons' family claimed that the PA facilitated the attack and tampered with evidence after the convoy bombing. The PA was also said to have supplied explosives to the bombers as well as information on when the U.S. convoy would arrive.

The Popular Resistance Committee claimed responsibility for the bombing, a claim confirmed by Israel and the PA. A PRC member said PA officers were asked to ignore the planting of the bomb along the main road to Gaza City.

At one point, the PA arrested six suspects in the bombing, including PRC commander Amr Qarmout. Qarmout, said to have admitted to possessing bombs that killed Parsons, was eventually released.

On Aug. 16, the State Department designated an alleged Al Qaida-aligned insurgent as a terrorist banned from conducting business with Americans. The department cited Mumtaz Dughmoush, commander of the Army of Islam, which operates in the Gaza Strip and said to be linked to the Hamas regime.

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