Washington - The US Supreme Court on Monday asked US President
Barack Obama's administration to weigh in on whether victims of the 11 September
2001 attacks on New York could pursue claims against banks they have accused of
indirectly helping Islamic militants.
The victims appealed after an April ruling by the 2nd US
Circuit Court of Appeals that complaints against banks and entities accused of
indirectly aiding the perpetrators could be dismissed.
Those victims included family members of nearly 3 000
people who died in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Centre.
The bank defendants dismissed by the ruling include Al
Rajhi Bank, Dar Al-Maal Al-Islami Trust, Dallah Al Baraka Group LLC and Saudi
American Bank, now known as Samba Financial group.
Separately, the appeals court also dismissed several
individuals and companies from the case.
The appeals court said allegations against the banks over
material support for terrorism could go ahead if there was a more direct
relationship between the bank and a particular militant action.
The case before the high court is just one element of the
multi-district litigation filed by victims against a wide range of defendants.
The attacks were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden under
the auspices of the al-Qaeda militant group.
The US military killed Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
The court said Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself
from the case, presumably because of her previous role as solicitor general
Once the Obama administration files a brief in the case,
the court will decide whether to hear it. The court term runs through late