Judge: Al Qaeda owes $9.3 billion for 9/11 harm

A rescue worker searches through a pile of debris from the World Trade Center collapse Saturday, Sept. 22, 2001, in New York. AP

NEW YORK - A judge in New York has recommended al Qaeda be assessed $9.3 billion for the damage done to properties and businesses in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in a ruling Friday sent the recommendation to a district judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by several insurance companies.

The companies in 2003 sued various defendants, seeking damages for the 2001 terror attacks, which demolished the World Trade Center's twin towers. Al Qaeda never responded to the lawsuit and was found in default in 2006. Maas determined the actual damages and then tripled them as allowed by law.

At this time, the companies were only seeking an assessment of damages against al Qaeda. The organization founded by Osama bin Laden is blamed for orchestrating the terror attacks.

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