The families of five students who were gunned down in a 2008 terror attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem filed a $1 billion civil suit on Tuesday against the Bank of China for providing financial services to Hamas.
Eight students were killed at the religious school in March 2008 and 15 others were wounded when Alaa Abu Dhein, an east Jerusalem Arab, infiltrated the grounds and opened indiscriminate fire.
The suit, filed at a New York state court, alleges that Bank of China made dozens of wire transfers for the Palestinian group totaling several million dollars beginning in 2003.
"The banking giant knowingly helped the Islamic group carry out this Jerusalem attack with the full approval of the Chinese government," said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center), which represents the families.
The plaintiffs allege that the money transfers were initiated by Hamas leadership in Iran and Syria, processed through the U.S. branch of the Bank of China and then sent onward to an account in China operated by a senior terrorist. From China, the funds reached Hamas and other terror groups in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The lawsuit also alleges that Israeli counterterrorism officers met with officials from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and China's central bank in 2005 and demanded measures to prevent the Bank of China from making further wire transfers, to no avail.