Exclusive: Congressman Matt Gaetz Introduces Legislation to Compensate Survivors of the 1996 Khobar Towers Attack

On Wednesday, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a bill aimed at rectifying the oversight of survivors from the 1996 Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia. The legislation, exclusively obtained by Breitbart News, seeks to provide “catch-up” payments as authorized by the Fairness for 9/11 Families Act. This act, which amended the Justice for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorist Act, was designed to compensate victims who had been overlooked in previous rounds of payments.

However, an error by Congress resulted in the exclusion of 75 percent of claimants from receiving a one-time lump sum payment. While the Act initially provided payments to survivors who had missed all four prior rounds of compensation, it neglected those who had missed only some of the payments. Gaetz’s bill aims to broaden eligibility to include those who missed some but not all four prior payments.

“My legislation seeks to fix a technical oversight that left many victims of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing without the full compensation they deserve,” Gaetz said in a statement first obtained by Breitbart News.

“It would ensure that all survivors, including the brave service members residing in Florida’s First Congressional District who bore the brunt of that tragic day, are treated with the fairness and respect owed to them,” he added.

On the night of June 25, 1996, a bomb exploded near the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, where U.S. forces were stationed to support a no-fly zone in southern Iraq. The attack resulted in the deaths of nineteen individuals and left 498 others wounded, including residents from Representative Gaetz’s district.

Gaetz’s proposed legislation would impact more than 200 U.S. airmen who sustained injuries in the bombing, individuals who were mistakenly left out of the lump sum catch-payment provision of the Fairness for 9/11 Families Act.

In a letter to the congressman, Joshua M. Ambush, Esq., an attorney representing these families, praised Gaetz’s bill.

“The Bill for Improvements to the Fairness Act ensures fairness, equal justice, and comfort to these long-suffering victims,” he said, adding that it was a “unique legislative initiative that has no downside.”

“It is bipartisan, improves the lives of hundreds of military veterans who are victims of terrorism, and does not require any additional funding. It simply expands the number of eligible claimants for catch-up payments without diluting the payments to those previously deemed eligible,” he said.