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U.S. trial starts over Palestinian Authority, PLO role in Israel attacks

Six men and six women were chosen as jurors to decide whether the defendants should pay up to $1 billion

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A trial to determine whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were behind the violence that occurred in Israel between January 2001 and February 2004 started Tuesday in New York, Al Arabiya news channel reported.

Six men and six women were chosen as jurors to decide whether the defendants should pay up to $1 billion for what the plaintiffs' lawyer, Kent Yalowitz, said was support for the seven shootings and bombings in the Jerusalem area that killed 33 people and wounded more than 450, among them U.S. citizens.

Meanwhile, Mark Rochon, a lawyer representing the defendants, countered that jurors should not hold liable a government that employs more than 100,000 for attacks conducted by a few people who acted on their own, or at the behest of groups such as Hamas or the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Both Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government.

The trial before U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan is expected to last 12 weeks, according to Reuters news agency.