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Hundreds Of 9/11 Victims And Their Family Members Are Suing Saudi Arabia

The lawsuit, which required an act of Congress to be filed, accuses members of the Saudi government of assisting the 9/11 hijackers.

Posted on March 20, 2017, at 5:41 p.m. ET

Beth A. Keiser / AP

More than 800 people — both people who were injured on 9/11 and family members of those who were killed — filed a lawsuit against the country of Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The lawsuit, brought in the federal court that covers lower Manhattan, is years in the making. It took an act of Congress — Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act — to allow private citizens to sue a foreign government for its alleged involvement in terrorism. It was initially vetoed by President Obama, who said it could hurt US partnerships around the world. Congress overrode the veto.

The lawsuit required 135 pages to name those who died in the attack and their family members, as well as survivors who were injured. They're seeking monetary damages from the Saudi Arabian government, which they accuse of providing money and support to al-Qaeda.

According to the lawsuit, a series of state-run Saudi Arabian charities and government entities had a relationship with Osama bin Laden. The Saudi government adopted an extreme form of Islam as its state religion and spent money across the Middle East to promote it, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also accuses the Saudi government of knowing that at least three of the 9/11 hijackers had ties to al-Qaeda; the suit says their passports were marked with a secret indicator, information which the Saudi government did not share with the US.

"Saudi Arabia was duplicitous," the suit said. "It presented a public face to the United States and other Western countries of a nation fighting al Qaeda and terrorism while at the same time, as detailed herein, Saudi government actors gave al Qaeda substantial material support and resources."

The 9/11 attacks couldn't have happened without Saudi Arabian assistance, the lawsuit continued.

"As a result, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is liable to plaintiffs for all damages resulting in the injuries and deaths in the September 11th Attacks," the suit said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.