Senator urges U.S. to seek extradition of Palestinians

Also speaking at the news conference were Stephen Flatow, Joyce Boim and Vicki Eisenfeld, the parents of three Americans killed in terrorist attacks.

"I will not rest until justice is done," Boim said. "My son's blood is as good as any American's wherever they were killed."

The news conference took place outside a federal building in Manhattan, only blocks from the courthouse where two suspected terrorists will be tried for the Aug. 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Twelve U.S. citizens were among the more than 250 people killed in the explosions.

"What about the Americans killed in the Middle East?" asked New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who also spoke at the news conference. "Are they less American than those killed in Africa?"

The anti-terrorism act of 1996 permits the prosecution on American soil of individuals who allegedly kill U.S. citizens abroad.

D'Amato told the crowd of about 40 that he would send a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright demanding that she seek action to extradite and try Palestinians identified by the Israeli government as having been involved in the deaths of American citizens during the past four years.

The news conference attracted some local media coverage, which a few participants said illustrated a general apathy toward prosecuting Palestinian terrorists.

In May, however, the House of Representatives unanimously supported a bipartisan resolution calling on President Clinton to address the matter.

Earlier that month, 62 congressional representatives sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno calling on the Justice Department to "investigate, indict, and prosecute any individual who kills, attempts to kill, or engages in a conspiracy to kill a U.S. national in a foreign country pursuant of a terrorist act."

D'Amato's involvement in the cause follows his successful campaign on behalf of Holocaust survivors to wrest payment from Swiss banks and an Italian insurance firm. His appearance at the news conference also comes amid his re-election campaign.

Noting that the Palestinian Authority receives $100 million in U.S. aid annually, D'Amato said it was "not acceptable" to allow Arafat "to continue business as usual."