Saturday, September 11, 2004

NYC Port Authority to join lawsuit against Saudis

NYC Port Authority to join lawsuit against Saudis

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — The government agency that owns the World Trade Center site said Friday it intends to hold Saudi Arabia and nearly 100 other defendants liable for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the complex.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it planned to join Friday as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed a week ago by Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, a bond trading firm that lost two-thirds of its workers in the trade centre attack.

"We also have a responsibility to the millions of people who live and work in the region as well as to our bondholders to pursue every legal avenue to recover the losses we sustained on Sept. 11," the Port Authority said in a statement.

The agency lost 84 of its employees in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Cantor Fitzgerald lawsuit named as defendants Saudi Arabia, al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and other accused terrorists, along with financial institutions and charitable organizations that allegedly raised money for terrorism efforts.

Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 employees in the attacks, seeks $7 billion US in damages. It accused Saudi Arabia of supporting al-Qaida with money, safe houses, weapons and money laundering.

Saudi Arabia — the birthplace of bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers — has defended itself as a loyal ally in the fight against terrorism. It cited the Sept. 11 Commission's conclusion that the Saudi government did not fund al-Qaida.

Still, the commission criticized Saudi Arabia as "a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism."