Israeli and American families of victims of Palestinian attacks have filed a US $1 billion lawsuit £770m against Facebook, claiming the social network is providing a platform for militants to spread incitement and violence, their lawyers have said.

Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, filed the suit on behalf of the five families in New York federal court, alleging that Facebook is violating US anti-terrorism laws by providing a service to militant groups that assists them in recruiting, radicalising, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks .

The lawsuit focuses on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip and which has fought three wars against Israel since the Palestinian group took the coastal territory in 2007.

The five families in the lawsuit lost relatives in attacks over the last two years.

Four were dual Israeli-American citizens, while one victim was an American tourist.

Israel says the violence is being fuelled by a Palestinian campaign of incitement on social media while the Palestinians see it as the result of frustrations over nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation and a lack of hope for their own state.

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