The Army will award the Purple Heart to victims of the deadly 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, after Congress approved a measure expanding eligibility for the award.

Thirteen people were killed and over 30 were wounded in Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's attack. The victims and their families fought for years to receive the Purple Heart and its benefits but were denied because of a debate over whether the shooting met the legal requirement to be considered an act of terror.

"Now that Congress has changed the criteria, we believe there is sufficient reason to allow these men and women to be awarded and recognized with either the Purple Heart or, in the case of civilians, the Defense of Freedom Medal," the Army secretary, John M. McHugh, said in a statement announcing the decision. "It's an appropriate recognition of their service and sacrifice."

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