Jordan must extradite bomber Ahlam Tamimi to Washington where she faces terror charges
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The massacre: On August 9, 2001, a Jordanian woman, Ahlam Tamimi, brought a young Palestinian Arab male from Ramallah to Jerusalem and placed him at the entrance to a bustling Sbarro pizzeria filled with children. She then rushed away to safety and was far from the scene when the human bomb detonated the guitar case slung across his shoulder. Fifteen persons were murdered including two US nationals. Some 130 others were injured, many severely.
The orchestrator of the massacre: Tamimi, born and educated in Jordan and a part-time newsreader at a Ramallah TV station, was the first woman to be admitted to the ranks of Hamas terrorists. Her role went far beyond escorting the human bomb to the pizzeria. She had visited Jerusalem several times during that summer, scouting potential massacre sites. For the record, she has expressed delight in the result of the bombing. The bloodshed, the grief, the horror and her open responsibility for the savagery have made her famous. To this day, she remains unrepentant, publicly reveling in her role as planner of the Sbarro devastation. A viral video captures Tamimi beaming with delight on being told the bombing extinguished the lives of even more children than she thought.
Free in Jordan: Ahlam Tamimi today (2021) lives in Jordan where she has considerable influence and fame. Informed observers say she serves as a high-profile lightning rod for expressions of vicious, lethal terrorism.
Criminal charges: The Justice Department of the United States unveiled terrorism charges against her on March 14, 2017 and formally notified Jordan of its request that she be extradited to face trial in Washington.
Thwarted extradition: Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States in 1995 and has extradited Jordanian fugitives to the US every time this was requested. But on the basis of a narrow technical argument, Jordan has claimed since 2017 that it does not have to hand the bomber over for prosecution in the US. It keeps her safe from US law enforcement efforts. Tamimi is today the most wanted female terrorist in the world, included on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and the subject of a $5 Million US government reward. Jordan, a close and highly dependent U.S. ally, receives $1.5 billion a year in U.S. aid.
The campaign: Malki Roth’s parents have campaigned since 2012 for the United States to firmly urge compliance by Jordan in bringing Tamimi to justice.
Why does this matter? The unrepentant murderer’s freedom and celebrity status sends out a deplorable message: that in some societies, blood-drenched terrorists who execute cruel and inhumane acts of murder of innocents can evade justice.
Our call to action is that the United States must apply necessary and unforgivably delayed pressure so that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan finally complies with its legal, moral and treaty obligations in the Tamimi extradition.
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