Responding to 9/11 survivors’ suit, U.S. judge rules Iran abetted attacks

    A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that Iran was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. Among the thousands killed in the terrorist strikes were more than a dozen Bucks County residents.  The judge, who received affidavits from members of the 9/11 Commission and three Iranian defectors, made the decision in a lawsuit filed on behalf of some of those Philadelphia area families, and others.

    Fiona Havlish’s husband, Donald, commuted from his home in Yardley to his job in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He was at work on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Havlish has not forgotten the day later in September when her 3-year-old daughter asked if her father was on a business trip.

    “I said, ‘no’ and I sat her down and I explained that there were these men that had flown planes into her father’s building and that he was now her guardian angel and he lived in her heart,” Havlish said.

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    Lawyer Thomas Mellon represents the families, including the Havlishes. He called the finding “historic.”

    “This is the first time that a federal judge, or anyone for that matter, examined evidence and made a very careful and deliberative decision,” Mellon said. “It demonstrates that Iran provided training, travel documents, safe haven and financial resources to al-Qaida.”

    Havlish said the judge’s decision means a lot.

    “What that did for me was that I felt a sense of relief that I now have a better idea of who was involved, who conspired, planned and created that catastrophic day of Sept. 11,” she said.

    The decision is shocking, said University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick.

    “This is a major political statement and for the judge to establish it as accepted fact, or to claim that is, is to me shocking,” Lustick said. “I know of no significant evidence that Iran was involved that has been advanced seriously.”

    Lustick said he doubts this case will set precedent. But he said he’s concerned it could stoke the fires for a U.S. military strike against Iran.

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