US seeks extradition of Sbarro bombing accomplice
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US seeks extradition of Sbarro bombing accomplice

Jordanian woman charged in connection with 2001 terror attack on Jerusalem pizzeria that killed 15; sought by Justice Department over deaths of US citizens

The aftermath of a suicide bombing at a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 9, 2001, that killed 15 and wounded over 100 more. (Flash90)
The aftermath of a suicide bombing at a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 9, 2001, that killed 15 and wounded over 100 more. (Flash90)

The US has charged a Jordanian woman in connection with a 2001 bombing of a Jerusalem pizza restaurant that killed 15 people and injured dozens of others.

The case against Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi was filed under seal in 2013 but announced publicly by the Justice Department on Tuesday.

Al-Tamimi pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in an Israeli court in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison. But eight years in to her sentence, she was released as part of a prisoner exchange with Hamas for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and returned to Jordan in 2011.

US officials are seeking to take her into custody, though it was not clear Tuesday that she would ever be brought to the US to stand trial.

The charge against Al-Tamimi stems from an August 9, 2001 bombing at a Sbarro restaurant that, in addition to killing 15 people, also injured roughly 122 others. Two of those killed were US nationals.

Ahlam Tamimi, one of the Hamas terrorists behind the Sbarro bombing, was one of the terrorists released by Israel in exchange for Gilad Shalit (photo credit: Flash90)
Ahlam Tamimi, one of the Hamas terrorists behind the Sbarro bombing, was one of the terrorists released by Israel in a prisoner exchange with the Gaza terror group (Flash90)

The criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday charged Al-Tamimi with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the US against US nationals.

It accuses her of having agreed in the summer of 2001 to carry out attacks on behalf of the military wing of Hamas and having traveled with the restaurant suicide bomber to Jerusalem. Prosecutors say she instructed the bomber to detonate the explosive device, which was hidden in a guitar, in the area.

It wasn’t immediately clear if she had a lawyer.

Mary McCord, the acting head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, called Al-Tamimi an “unrepentant terrorist.”

“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.”

The FBI has added Al-Tamimi to its list of Most Wanted Terrorists.

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