Interpol said to drop warrant for Sbarro pizzeria bomber Ahlam Tamimi

Husband of Tamimi, who was convicted of orchestrating 2001 suicide bombing that left 15 dead but later released in prisoner swap, says her name has been removed from wanted list

Ahlam Tamimi recalls her pleasure at early reports of the death toll in the Sbarro bombing (MEMRI screenshot)
Ahlam Tamimi recalls her pleasure at early reports of the death toll in the Sbarro bombing (MEMRI screenshot)

Interpol has reportedly dropped an international warrant for the Jordanian terrorist who orchestrated the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 people.


In a letter dated March 8 published in Arabic-language media, Interpol said Ahlam Tamimi was no longer “subject to an Interpol notice,” without further elaborating. Tamimi also appeared to have been removed from the most wanted list on Interpol’s website.

The international police cooperation organization did not respond to a request for comment.

Tamimi has been living in Jordan after being freed from an Israeli jail as part of a prisoner swap.

Advocates for terror victims’ rights have long sought her extradition to the United States for her role in the murder of two US civilians in one of the most infamous suicide attacks of the Second Intifada: the attack on the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem on Thursday, August 9, 2001.

Police and medics surround the scene of a suicide bombing inside Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant, Thursday, August 9, 2001. Fifteen people were killed, and 130 injured. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Fifteen Israeli civilians — including seven children and a pregnant woman — were murdered in the Sbarro attack. Another 130 people were injured; one of them, Chana Nachenberg, remains hospitalized in a vegetative state.

Tamimi’s husband, a Palestinian terrorist convicted of murdering an Israeli student, confirmed the cancellation of the Interpol notice.

“After a legal battle that lasted for a year and a half, the defense for freed prisoner Ahlam Al-Tamimi achieved the erasure of the red notice issued against her by the Interpol,” Nizar Tamimi wrote on his Facebook page. “With this legal victory, her name was removed from the wanted list of Interpol, praise be to God.”

“Our struggle will continue until her file is completely closed, and we will meet after our prolonged separation and enjoy the free, stable life for which we have yearned,” added Nizar Tamimi, who was deported to Qatar last year.

Ahlam and Nizar Tamimi at their wedding in Amman (Screenshot)

Ahlam Tamimi was convicted by an Israeli military court and sentenced to 16 life terms for orchestrating the bombing, with a judges’ order that she never be released. She met Nizar behind bars, where they were engaged. Both Tamimis were freed, along with over 1,000 other detainees, in the October 2011 prisoner exchange deal between Israel and terror group Hamas that saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit freed from captivity.

A Jordanian national, Ahlam was deported by Israel to Jordan on her release, received a hero’s welcome at Queen Alia International Airport upon her arrival, and subsequently became a popular television broadcaster and public speaker, boasting of her role in the Sbarro attack. Nizar was allowed by Israel to cross into Jordan to join her in the summer of 2012, and they were married three months later at a wedding carried live on television.

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Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malki was murdered in the Sbarro explosion, has for years lobbied the American government to pressure Jordan to extradite Tamimi in accordance with a US-Jordan bilateral agreement. (Malki was one of the victims who had dual Israeli-American citizenship.) In 2017, Ahlam was indicted in US federal court and a $5 million bounty was put on her head by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Some of the Sbarro victims (MFA)

Tamimi, a Hamas activist who chose the target and guided the bomber there, said in a 2017 interview with The Associated Press that Palestinians have a right to resist Israeli rule by any means, including deliberately targeting uninvolved civilians and children.

In 2017, Jordan’s high court ruled she could not be extradited to the US, reportedly saying the 1995 extradition treaty between the countries had not been ratified. Tamimi has also claimed the US has no right to charge her because she was already tried and sentenced in Israel.

The US insisted in a 2018 report that the extradition treaty is valid in the case of Tamimi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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