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Fort Mill, SC, man seeks damages against Iran

In October 1983, a suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 241 American service members, the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces abroad since World War II. A Fort Mill, S.C., man whose father died in the bombing is seeking damages from the government of Iran.
In October 1983, a suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 241 American service members, the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces abroad since World War II. A Fort Mill, S.C., man whose father died in the bombing is seeking damages from the government of Iran. AP FILE PHOTO

A Fort Mill, S.C., man whose father died in the 1983 suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, is seeking damages from the government of Iran.

John Kees asked a federal court on Friday to distribute billions of dollars in seized Iranian assets to all victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism – not just those who obtained early judgments from the attack.

Kees was 11 years old when his father, Marion, died in the bombing.

The blast killed 241 American service members and was the single deadliest attack on U.S. forces abroad since World War II.

In 2007, a federal judge entered a $2.65 billion judgment against Iran in a case brought by several hundred plaintiffs, mainly current and former members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Kees wasn’t part of that case.

The judge based his ruling on evidence that several terrorist groups that participated in the attack, including the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, were backed by the Iranian government.

In 2008, the plaintiffs sued Iran’s central bank and Citibank to gain access to nearly $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets.

A judge ordered that the assets be transferred to a fund for some, but not all, of Iran’s victims. Iran’s central bank has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kees, meanwhile, joined a man who lost a brother in the attack and a Marine who was wounded in the bombing in seeking damages to come from the seized assets.

They made their request in federal court in New York on behalf of all others who weren’t part of the original case but might qualify for damages. They include service members wounded in the attack and family members of those who died in the bombing.

Kees couldn’t be reached Saturday.

He and the two others who filed for damages “are victims of the very same terrorist attack as those who filed claims earlier,” their lawyer, Theodore Leopold, said in announcing the court action.

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