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LAX terror victims sue Los Angeles

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Victims of the July 4 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport have filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Los Angeles, claiming the city failed to provide adequate security during the deadly rampage.

The shooting happened at a ticket counter for the Israeli national airlines, El Al. The family of Yakov Aminov, one of two Israeli nationals killed in the terrorist attack, and others who were injured are seeking more than $17 million. El Al ticket counter employee Victoria Hen also died in the attack.

The complaints allege that the city "failed to provide security at Tom Bradley Terminal, which it owns; no airport police or city security was present to detect or stop this terrorist."

Attorney Richard Fine said officers arrived on the scene 15 minutes after the shooting began, even though the holiday was a time of high alert for terrorist activity.

By the time officers responded, Fine said, the assailant had been fatally wounded by an El Al security guard and restrained by others in the terminal.

"These were citizens that stopped this terrorist," he said. "Nobody has offered to take care of these people at all."

Rescuers in this July 2002 photo remove one of the victims from the Los Angeles terminal.
Rescuers in this July 2002 photo remove one of the victims from the Los Angeles terminal.

Aminov's widow and children are seeking $17 million from for their loss. Other plaintiffs injured by the gunman are each seeking between $1 million and $3 million for trauma, stress and loss of income.

Fine said that the city's budget allocates funds to support antiterrorist efforts at LAX, and therefore Los Angeles has made "an admission that the city takes responsibility for the security at LAX."

Los Angeles officials have 45 days to accept, reject or settle the claims. If the city rejects the claims, plaintiffs will file the lawsuit in federal court.

A federal investigation concluded in September last year that the shooting was a terrorist act carried out alone by Egyptian national Hesham Mohamed Hadayet. Authorities believe that Hadayet thought he would become a martyr when he opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun. He also had a 9mm handgun, extra ammunition and a six-inch knife in his possession.

No evidence has been found linking Hadayet to any terrorist organizations, but he was known to have anti-Israeli views and was opposed to U.S. policy in the Middle East.

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