Ahlam Tamimi is one of the most notorious and heinous terrorists who drove the suicide bomber to blow up the Sbarro's restaurant in August 2001.
Tamimi, part of the Tamimi clan that is lauded regularly in Western media and by NGOs for their "non-violent resistance," is joyful about her role in murdering 16 people including children.
She was released in the Gilad Shalit deal and now lives in Jordan, working as a journalist.
On Tuesday, the US Justice Department released this statement:
A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, also known as “Khalti” and “Halati,” a Jordanian national in her mid-30s, with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals outside the U.S., resulting in death. The charge is related to the defendant’s participation in an Aug. 9, 2001, suicide bomb attack at a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people, including two U.S. nationals. Four other U.S. nationals were among the approximately 122 others injured in the attack. Also unsealed today was a warrant for Al-Tamimi’s arrest and an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant. The criminal charge had been under seal since July 15, 2013.Arnold Roth, whose daughter Malki was murdered in the attack and who established a foundation in her memory, told Legal Insurrection:
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
“Al-Tamimi is an unrepentant terrorist who admitted to her role in a deadly terrorist bombing that injured and killed numerous innocent victims. Two Americans were killed and four injured. The charges unsealed today serve as a reminder that when terrorists target Americans anywhere in the world, we will never forget – and we will continue to seek to ensure that they are held accountable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “I want to thank the many dedicated agents and prosecutors who have worked on this investigation.”
“We have never forgotten the American and non-American victims of this awful terrorist attack,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “We will continue to remain vigilant until Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi is brought to justice.”
“Al-Tamimi is a terrorist who participated in an attack that killed United States citizens,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “The bombing that she planned and assisted in carrying out on innocent people, including children, furthered the mission of a designated terrorist organization. The FBI continues to work with our international partners to combat terrorists like Al-Tamimi and hold them accountable.”
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrant, Al-Tamimi was living in the West Bank in the summer of 2001, while attending school and working as a journalist for a television station. Al-Tamimi agreed that summer to carry out attacks on behalf of the military wing of Hamas (the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), a Palestinian organization designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
The affidavit states that on Aug. 9, 2001, Al-Tamimi met with the suicide bomber in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and traveled with the suicide bomber by car to Jerusalem. The suicide bomber was in possession of an explosive device concealed within a guitar. Al-Tamimi led the suicide bomber to a crowded area in downtown Jerusalem and instructed the suicide bomber to detonate the explosive device in the area, or somewhere nearby if an opportunity arose to cause more casualties. According to the affidavit, the suicide bomber entered a Sbarro pizza restaurant and detonated the explosive device, causing extensive damage, bodily injury and death. Seven of the dead were children, including one U.S. national.
The affidavit states that Al-Tamimi pleaded guilty in an Israeli court in 2003 to multiple counts of murder arising from the Sbarro suicide bomb attack and was sentenced to 16 life terms of incarceration. The defendant served only eight years of the sentence before being released on or about Oct. 28, 2011, as part of a prisoner exchange between the government of Israel and Hamas.
Al-Tamimi was returned to Jordan upon her release from incarceration. Jordan’s courts, however, have ruled that their constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The U.S. has worked and will continue to work with its foreign partners to obtain custody of Al-Tamimi so she can be held accountable for her role in the terrorist bombing. The FBI also announced today that Al-Tamimi has been placed on its list of Most Wanted Terrorists.
My wife and I were aware from about 2005 of efforts to have the mastermind of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre released on one spurious basis or another. Our daughter Malki was murdered there at the age of 15. We wrote and spoke against the idea of convicted terrorists being released early dozens of times and in several countries. Then in 2011 the Shalit Deal took shape. Israel catastrophically gave in to Hamas’ demands and Ahlam Tamimi’s name was in the walk-free list.I am puzzled by the DOJ's assertion that Jordan’s courts... have ruled that their constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals." Jordan's constitution says in Article 21(1) that “[p]olitical refugees shall not be extradited on account of their political beliefs or for their defense of liberty."
We were shattered. Even before the deal was done, we predicted what this might mean and, in the years since then, most of what we feared has come to pass. In fact, in some ways, the reality has been even worse than that.
We first approached the Department of Justice via a personal meeting with a large group of its senior people in Washington some months after the Shalit Deal was done. That was in early 2012. We asked for Tamimi to be brought up on charges in the United States. Our daughter was a US citizen, and the Koby Mandell Act requires US authorities in such situations to go after the terrorists wherever they are and bring them to court to face US justice
Five years later, it’s apparent that a sealed complaint was already been filed with a Washington DC court within about a year of that first meeting and prior to several subsequent meetings we had with them. We got vague messages that expressed support for what we wanted but no actionable information. We were immensely frustrated. We have a better understanding of why things were done that way.
It’s evident as of today that the government’s lawyers are seriously intent on pursuing the Tamimi prosecution, and have been making vigorous efforts in secret. The obstacle is clear: Tamimi lives in Jordan where she was born, where most of her family lives and where the vast majority of the population call themselves Palestinians. The government of Jordan does not want to see her extradited. Our understanding is they are not co-operating with DoJ’s efforts.
This is about justice in the truest sense of the word. When it affects others and not you, justice can seem an abstract notion. But it’s not an abstraction. Civilized societies cannot function when justice is trampled.
We know there is more work to be done.
Tamimi is not a political refugee.
Moreover, the US has an extradition treaty with Jordan from 1995 that specifically includes terrorists like Tamimi. President Clinton described it in his letter of submittal of the treaty:
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, signed at Washington on March 28, 1995.If Jordan is refusing to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, it isn't because it is against Jordanian law. It is because they don't consider her a terrorist.
Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of the Department of State with respect to this Treaty. The Treaty establishes the conditions and procedures for extradition between the United States and Jordan. It also provides a legal basis for temporarily surrendering prisoners to stand trial for crimes against the laws of the Requesting State.
The Treaty further represents an important step in combatting terrorism by excluding from the scope of the political offense exception serious offenses typically committed by terrorists, e.g., crimes against a Head of State or first family member of either Party, aircraft hijacking, aircraft sabotage, crimes against internationally protected persons, including diplomats, hostage-taking, narcotics trafficking, and other offenses for which the United States and Jordan have an obligation to extradite or submit to prosecution by reason of a multilateral international agreement or treaty.
The pressure on Jordan to extradite her should be relentless and very public. Force King Abdullah to state publicly that he refuses to cooperate with seeing justice served to a proud terrorist while he pretends that he is a partner in the war on terror. No amount of secret background negotiations will get anywhere - this must be made into an issue that would expose the Arab world's support for murderers of Jewish children.