WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing and relatives of those killed sued Iraq in federal court Thursday, claiming the country was behind the attack.
Prosecutors have rejected suggestions that there was any foreign involvement in the April 19, 1995, bombing, and a judge refused to allow lawyers to raise it in the trial of bomber Timothy McVeigh.
But the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington says the bombing was ``not as simple as has been portrayed by the United States government.''
``The entire plot was, in whole or in part, orchestrated, assisted technically and/or financially and directly aided by agents of the Republic of Iraq,'' says the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the conservative Washington-based legal group Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch has filed multiple lawsuits alleging wrongdoing in the Clinton and Bush administrations.
The lawsuit filed Thursday seeks about $1.5 billion in damages for 14 Oklahoma City victims.
A 1996 law allows American terror victims to seek damages from nations that sponsor terrorism if those countries are on the State Department's list of terrorist states. The lawsuit claims that permission was retroactive, and notes that Iraq was placed on the State Department's list in 1990.
As evidence, the lawsuit cites foreign and U.S. intelligence and law enforcement documents, as well as accounts from unnamed witnesses and sealed trial records. Many of the allegations are stated without specifying a source.
It alleges that convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef was an Iraqi government agent. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, for which he was later imprisoned, Yousef went to the Philippines where he recruited Terry Nichols, eventually convicted as a co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing, to join a plot to blow up several U.S.-bound airliners, the lawsuit alleges.
Nichols had traveled to the Philippines between 1990 and 1994 seeking help in building a bomb, the lawsuit claims.
About three months after the airline-bombing plot was foiled and Nichols returned to the United States, the Oklahoma City federal building was destroyed, killing 168 and wounding hundreds.
The lawsuit alleges that Abdul Hakim Murad, then imprisoned in the United States awaiting trial in the airline-bombing plot, said at the time that Yousef's network was responsible.
Years later, after the convictions of Nichols and McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing, the lawsuit alleges the global law enforcement arm Interpol was still trying to apprehend at least two other bombing suspects, one a foreign national.
McVeigh lawyer Stephen Jones said before the 1997 trial and in a book written afterward that there was evidence Nichols hooked up with Muslim fundamentalists in the Philippines and set McVeigh up as ``a patsy.''